On Day 3 of the third Test against Australia in Ranchi, India posted 360/6 in 130 overs, still trailing by 91 runs with four wickets in hand – after Chesteshwar Pujara played a magnificent knock to keep things under control for the hosts.
The right-handed batsman Pujara remained not out on 130 off 328 deliveries which included 17 boundaries and at the other end, wicket-keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha was unbeaten on 18 off 42 balls as both put on 32 runs for the seventh wicket
Leading in his own way, Chesteshwar Pujara stood tall against Australian bowlers while bringing up his 11th Test century by playing the visitors’ slow and fast bowlers according to the merit though being on the slower side.
The 29-year-old Pujara showed great persistence for his six-hour long vigil at the crease.
Throughout the day, Pujara showed the grit and dispatched the bad balls to padded-up boundary line and further to negotiate the good-odd balls he equally showed the dead bat – to frustrate the visitors bowling department.
Cummins put on the brakes while making a new ball do the talking as he claimed three wickets for the day when the hosts were going good to post decent total on board in response to Australia’s first innings total of 451.
Off-spinner Nathan Lyon picked a wicket apiece alongside the left-arm orthodox spinner Steve O’Keefe
In the 116th over, putting all his effort behind the ball Pat Cummins’ bowled a shorter length delivery which surprised Ravichandran Ashwin (3 off 22 balls) as close-in fielders appealed for the catch.
Without wasting a time for a review, Australian skipper Steven Smith went upstairs to see the replays suggesting the ball came off Ashwin’s glove as Matthew Wade completed the catch behind stumps.
In the 108th over of Indian innings, after warning Karun Nair followed by a smirk, who seemed to have problem with the sight screen, Josh Hazlewood, who mixed his line and length well bowled a peach of a delivery to get rid of Karun Nair (23 off 47 balls) when his off stump got uprooted to see India at 320 for five.
At tea, India were 303 for four and looked solid against Australian bowling line-up when Pujara and Nair were batting.
The recalled fast-bowler Pat Cummins removed Ajinkya Rahane on 14 off 33 balls when he tried to guide the short-ball over slip cordon before it took the edge of his bat to find the gloves of Matthew Wade.
Impressive with the ball, Cummins bowled with immaculate line and length to dismiss Indian skipper Virat Kohli after the second new ball was taken.
Going through poor run of form in the ongoing series, Virat Kohli was dismissed for 6 when fuller length delivery nicked his bat to see his counterpart taking a shoulder high catch at the second slip.
Earlier, after Australia lost both the reviews before Vijay got an inside edge which brushed his pad as it ballooned up in the air – to find Peter Handscomb at short leg which was turned down by the on-field umpire.
However, in the morning session Murali Vijay alongside Cheteshwar Pujara rotated the strike and kept the scoreboard ticking as Vijay perished in the final before lunch break.
After starting from the overnight score of 120 for four Murali Vijay batted confidently and was dismissed at the stroke of lunch on 82 off 183 balls when he jumped out of the crease and was stumped by Matthew Wade on the bolwing of left-arm orthodox spinner Steve O’Keefe.
Vijay, alongside Pujara posted 102 crucial runs for the second wicket.
Summarizing the third day: The Test match which has witnessed the pointing of a finger, mocking of Decision Review System (DRS) referral when Australia lost both their reviews (in first 80 overs of Indian innings) as Kohli was seen applauding in the dressing room before Glenn Maxwell and Steven Smith grabbed their shoulders and acted like wincing in pain when Kohli trudged off the ground. (In case of Maxwell – he did the act before Kohli got out).
Brief Scores: India 360 for six; Cheteshwar Pujara 130* off 328 balls
Murali Vijay 82 off 183 balls
Pat Cumins four wickets for 59 runs in 25 overs