Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha continued batting sturdily to keep India’s quest of overhauling Australia’s total (451) strong. Thus far, the duo has assured stability and the hosts now trail only by 16 runs after adding 75 runs in the opening session to their overnight score of 360/6.
Standing by the boundary rope, Pujara looked immersed in meditation. The very effect of his natural characteristics was visible in the way he has batted through his innings, so far. The commentators aren’t having enough of praising him for his ‘tunnel’ vision. And why wouldn’t they be impressed? So far, the Saurashtra stalwart has played 434 deliveries and his time at the crease is nearly 530 minutes. Pujara faced off the morning session with the same ease he played out the entire Day 3. There has been no sign of his gas running out. Wriddhiman Shah also deserves a special applause for the stoic show with the bat.
He showed a clear understanding of his responsibility and batted accordingly without showing any unnecessary urgency to get going. His sensible approach saw him complete his third Test fifty. While at the first glance it may seem he was just a mere second fiddle, a finer look at the numbers reveal the wicket-keeper batsman contributing more than Pujara in the stand.
Australians faces were already tired midway through the session. On Day 4, the track is still supporting the batters. Although, there has been turn on offer, the so-called ‘spit off the pitch’ effect seems missing much to the disappointment of Nathan Lyon and Steve O’ Keefe. There were a couple of opportunities which could have brought a huge relief for the visitors. Both Pujara and Saha were in danger of losing their wicket one time each. On both occasions, the bowler who could have been lucky was Steve O’ Keefe.
In the 150th over, Wade’s pads saved Pujara after the right-hander edged the turning delivery and the nick seemed to be going straight to the first slip where Smith stood with his cupped hands ready to get hold of the ball. However, the ball was directed away as Wade’s pad came in the way. The other clear opportunity came five overs later when Saha, just after completing his fifty, was beaten by the uneven bounce and the ball took the edge off the bat. Unfortunately, O’Keefe was left frustrated as Wade failed to grab the chance.
Virat Kohli-led India look all set to take a lead and the emphasis will be now on the runs they add in the next session. For Australia, the target is clear – snap all the remaining wickets as soon as possible – if they wish to force a result.