Cheteshwar Pujara hit a hard-fought hundred, but Pat Cummins’ impressive comeback continued as the fast bowler claimed three big wickets on day three to ensure the Ranchi Test was evenly balanced. On a day when both India and Australia fought tooth and nail, India finished at 360 for 6, still trailing by 91 runs, and with only four wickets in hand.
By the time the day’s play came to an end, Pujara was still there on an unbeaten 130, having faced 328 deliveries. He had Wriddhiman Saha for company, who was batting on 18. As for Cummins, he had impressive figures of 4 for 59 from 25 overs.
As it often happens during marathon innings, Pujara had his stroke of luck. He should have been dismissed on 22, but DRS reared its ugly head again. An lbw appeal off Steve O’Keefe was reviewed. While the front-on replays seemed to indicate that it was bat before pad, snickometer showed a noise as the ball went past pad. Third umpire Nigel Llong however turned down the appeal.
Pujara went on to keep Australia at bay for the rest of the day. However, Australia stayed in the hunt constantly claiming wickets from the other end, thanks in main to Cummins.
The comeback man claimed the big wicket of Indian skipper Virat Kohli. The injured batsman attempted to drive the first delivery he faced from Cummins. But, all he managed was an edge rocketed to Steven Smith at second slip. Kohli had sarcastically reacted to a failed review by Smith earlier in the day. He was out for just six.
Going into the series on a high, Kohli has shockingly managed only 46 runs from visits to the crease. Cummins also went on to claim the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane and Ravichandran Ashwin, both with bouncers.
--By A Cricket Correspondent