Gritty Pujara century helps India recover to reach 250/9

06 Dec, 2018 4:52 pm

ADELAIDE (92 News) – Cheteshwar Pujara’s battling 123 – his 16th Test century – helped India bounce back after a poor start to end the first day of the first Test against Australia in Adelaide on 250/9.

The honours, however, went to Australia as they struck four times in the morning after being asked to field and chipped away at India’s resistance through the day despite Pujara’s stellar performance.

Pujara, who scored his first Test century in Australia and comfortably topped his previous best of 73, led India’s fightback and took them past the 200-run mark in the final session of the day before being run out by Pat Cummins just before stumps, leaving Mohammed Shami remained unbeaten on six.

Earlier, Virat Kohli won the toss and opted for first strike on a good batting surface. However, his plans didn’t go the way he would have wanted.

Cheteshwar Pujara brought up his 16th Test hundred – his first in Australia

 

First, India lost KL Rahul in just the second over as he edged one off Josh Hazlewood to Aaron Finch at third slip.

Shortly after, the visitors lost their other opener, Murali Vijay, and the crucial wicket of Kohli, as Australia reduced India to 19/3 inside 11 overs.

Mitchell Starc dismissed Vijay for 11 after the opener edged behind to Tim Paine, and soon after, Pat Cummins struck in his first over to get the big wicket of Kohli for 3. Kohli went for a drive to one well outside the off stump, and Usman Khawaja took a stunning catch at gully flying to his left and grabbing it with one hand.


At that point, India needed a partnership and just when Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane (13) had started to build one, Hazlewood returned to pick up his second wicket as Rahane threw it away, edging to Peter Handscomb at second slip.

Rohit Sharma's 61-ball 37 featured two fours and three sixes

 

By lunch, India were 56/4. In the second session, an aggressive Rohit Sharma built a 45-run fifth-wicket partnership with Pujara. His innings of 37 ended when, one ball after hitting his third six – debutant Marcus Harris parrying the ball over the line after a smart effort – he attempted a repeat and holed out to Harris.

Wickets kept on falling from one end but Pujara stood firm, building another valuable partnership with Rishabh Pant, the No.7. Together they added 41 runs before Lyon sent back Pant, who was caught behind for 25.

When Ravichandran Ashwin came in to bat, India were struggling at 127/6. Along with Pujara, he shared a key stand – the highest of the innings – of 62 runs.

They both made the Australia bowlers toil in the first hour of the final session before India lost Ashwin for 25. Later, Ishant Sharma was clean bowled by Starc for four even as Pujara went past his personal milestone, walking back only after making sure that India were in a competitive position.




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