Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane scored half-centuries as India took control reaching 260 for 5 at lunch on the fourth day of the first Test against Australia on Sunday.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane scored half-centuries as India took control reaching 260 for 5 at lunch on the fourth day of the first Test against Australia on Sunday. At the break, Rahane was unbeaten on 57 runs while Rishabh Pant was batting on 10. India’s overall lead swelled to 275 runs with two sessions of play still left.
Starting from overnight 151 for 3, India made good progress through the first session as Pujara and Rahane ground down the Australian attack with an 87-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Pujara started on a positive note with successive fours early in the day’s play. India’s main threat came from Nathan Lyon (3-92), who was using the rough on the pitch to trouble the batsmen.
Rahane survived an appeal for a catch in the 74th over via DRS when replays showed that the bat was nowhere near the ball. India’s 200 had came up in the 77th over while their 50-partnership came off 103 balls. Pujara reached his 20th Test half-century off 140 balls.
The duo continued to grind down the Australian bowling as their pacers’ body language started looking tiresome. Mitchell Starc (1-34) took the second new ball as soon as it became available but was wayward at best. Australia finally got a breakthrough with Pujara out caught at short leg, off Lyon in the 88th over as the ball looped up. He walked off to a standing ovation from the Sunday crowd, having faced 450 balls in this match, the second-most for an Indian batsman in a Test on Australian soil after Sachin Tendulkar (525 at Sydney, 2004).
Rohit Sharma (1) came to the crease thereafter, but left quickly, caught at silly point smartly by Peter Handscomb as Lyon picked up his third wicket.
Young Pant though decided to attack and took India past 250 before lunch. At the other end, Rahane had opened up to play pull strokes off the pacers against the new ball and reached his 16th Test half-century off 111 balls.