Pujara's second 150-plus knock takes India to 435/6 at lunch
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 20, 2017,
Mar 20, 2017, 13:20
Pujara, who was involved in a 102-run second-wicket stand with overnight partner Murali Vijay (82), was holding the innings together with his 11th Test century. "There is rough, there are cracks (on the pitch)", said Pujara. You can't leave too many, because he is looking to hit the top of off and middle and the LBW is in play; you can't push too hard because from that same spot, he will make the odd one go through straight and that will put the outside edge in play. The intent from India in this innings was clear - occupy the crease for as long as possible, no matter how slow the run rate, and slowly sap the spirit of the Australians. It was a laudable effort considering the pace at which he bowls and the fact that he was playing Test cricket after a long time.
Earlier Kohli, who turned out to bat at his regular number four spot laying to rest any injury concerns, lasted only 23 balls before edging a catch to his opposite number Steve Smith at second slip. "I think it will be just similar sort of thing with Richie making sure that cricket is the victor this week", Smith said. Even when I defended, I did it in a positive sense and when I played my shots, that was also in a positive sense. The partnership is now worth 25 runs but the Aussies need these two to convert it into a big one. Pat Cummins claimed four wickets while left-arm spinner O'Keefe took three.
Pujara and Saha are two of the most underrated players in Test cricket, the former a serenely compact first drop, the latter a slick gloveman and plucky batsman.
"But once the ball gets a little bit softer it plays pretty well, so there's no real demons in the track".
After suffering a massive 333-run defeat inside three days in Pune, India brillianty bounced back to level the series in Bengaluru with a 75-run win. India, on the other hand, can strengthen their grip on this Test match if they can manage to dismiss Smith. He said, "Myself and Pujara had built up a partnership initially, and (if we) would have gone through the first session, it would have been great for me".
Speaking to reporters after the fourth day's play, Darren Lehmann, Australia's coach, said it would be a "good challenge" for his team batting to save the game, something Australia hasn't successfully achieved since the tour of Sri Lanka in 2011. "They've done a lot of practise in those sort of conditions, so I'm really confident they can do the job".