Ranchi: Cheteshwar Pujara's unbeaten hundred was India's guiding force as the Virat Kohli-led side ended Day 3 of the third Test at 360 for 6; trailing Australia by 91 runs; at stumps at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) International Stadium here on Saturday.
While Pat Cummins threatened to derail Indian innings by scalping four wickets (4/59), Pujara remained solid to keep alive India's hopes of surpassing Australia's 451-run total. Although Kohli, who was struggling with the shoulder injury, could not break the series of low scores in the Test series, Murali Vijay (82) and KL Rahul (67) made some solid contributions to India's total.
India 360/6 from 130 overs:
STUMPS! Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha have denied Australia a chance to end Day 3 on a high as they remain unbeaten at stumps. While Pujara was, by far, the standout batsman from India, Vijay and Rahul's contribution at the top has made sure India keep their hopes alive to get past Australia's 451-run total. For Australia, Pat Cummins, who was playing his first Test since 2011, was the pick of the bowler as scalped 4 wickets conceding 59 runs.
India 328/6 from 115.4 overs:
WICKET! Absolute snorter from Pat Cummins! It had pace, it bounced, it caught R Ashwin napping and more importantly, it kissed Ashwin's gloves as Matthew Wade made no mistake on holding on to an easy catch. On-field umpire adjudged Ashwin not-out but as Australia reviewed the decision, Ashwin had to walk back to the dressing room.
India 320/5 from 109 overs:
WICKET! A brilliant delivery by Hazlewood. Karun Nair completely failed to spot the reverse swing on that ball, as it whizzed through the gap between his bat and pad, to crash into the stumps.
India 303/4 from 99 overs:
Tea time! India have scored 110 runs in the second session and lost the wickets of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. But Cheteshwar Pujara's hundred has made sure that Australia don't enjoy an upperhand. His 11th Test ton had helped India cross 300-run mark.
India 291/4 from 95 overs:
HUNDRED FOR PUJARA! What a fine season he has had! 4th ton in this home season and another hundred when India needed it. Well played, Che.
India 254/3 from 86 overs:
Cheteshwar Pujara has not allowed Australia to push India on the backfoot after Kohli's dismissal. He has upped the ante in the second session and that has helped India a great deal as the score moves past 250-run mark.
India 225/3 from 80.4 overs:
WICKET! Pat Cummins has struck and struck big as Virat Kohli departs. He edges one to the slip and Steve Smith makes no mistake holding onto an easy catch.
India 212/2 from 79 overs:
Pujara has brought up his 15th Test fifty as India's score moves past 200. Virat Kohli, despite the shoulder injury, has walked out to bat.
India 193/2 from 70.4 overs:
WICKET AND THAT'S LUNCH! Why on earth made Murali Vijay play that shot at the stroke of lunch! He danced down the track as Steve O'Keefe bowled one outside the leg-stump. Ball sneaked through the gap of Vijay's bat and pads and Matthew Wade did the rest to dislodge the bails. How Australia needed that wicket and how India did not!
India 173/1 from 66 overs:
Australia have consumed both their review and then, as the luck would have it, Vijay edged one to the forward short-leg and on-field umpire Ian Gould ruled it not-out. From thereon, Vijay and Pujara have added some quick runs.
India 146/1 from 57 overs:
Murali Vijay has brought up fifty in his 50th Test, Pujara looking solid and the pitch, it seems has started to play up a bit.
Kohli is padded up:
Brilliant sign for Team India and its fans as Virat Kohli is in whites in the dressing room and looks set to bat in Ranchi Test if and when the need arises. Relief for fans, we must say.
He, in fact, also batted in the nets ahead of third day's play.
India 132/1 from 48 overs:
Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara are batting cautiously. While the run rate has not picked in the morning as yet, they have not played any loose shots.
Ranchi: While Team India are hoping Virat Kohli is fit to bat after sustaining a shoulder injury on Day 1 of the Test, the team will be banking on Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara to build a big partnership as India look to get closer to Australia’s 451-run total on Day 3 of the Ranchi Test here on Saturday.
After Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell powered Australia to a mammoth total, batting first, Indian openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay made sure India have a solid start. While Rahul, who brought up his 4th half-century in the series, got out on 67, his and Vijay’s 91-run partnership for the opening wicket did not allow Australia to make an early inroads to India’s batting line-up.
However, the hometeam’s task will be cut out on Day 3 as they look to put up a big total on the board in MS Dhoni’s hometown.