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December 7, 2018

Pujara ton helps India claw back against Australia


December 7, 2018

ADELAIDE: Pujara scored a gritty 123 in punishing conditions to claw India back into the opening Test in Adelaide Thursday after Australia seized early control with some blistering bowling.

Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc all grabbed two wickets as temperatures topped 36 Celsius and the tourists wilted to 250-9 at stumps on day one.The experienced Pujara faced 246 balls in his gutsy knock — passing 5,000 Test runs for his 16th Test century — as the wickets tumbled around him, including superstar captain Virat Kohli for three.

At the end of a day characterised by poor shot selection, Pujara went for a quick single on the second last ball and was removed in a brilliant run-out by a diving Cummins.Batting after Kohli won the toss, the visitors crumbled in a disastrous morning session under a pace barrage before digging in later in the day, with Pujara and Ravi Ashwin (25 off 76 balls) staging a fightback as the bowlers tired.

Opener KL Rahul, who has been struggling for runs, flopped again, caught by Aaron Finch at third slip off Hazlewood for two.Veteran Murali Vijay, in the side after young gun Prithvi Shaw suffered ankle ligament damage, didn’t last much longer, caught behind by skipper Tim Paine off Starc for 11.

In marched Kohli to a huge roar from the crowd, but Usman Khawaja at gully spectacularly caught him off a Cummins delivery as he attempted a drive, out after facing only 16 balls.It was stunning one-handed take by Khawaja, whose preparations were upset by the shock arrest of his brother this week for allegedly framing a love-rival with a fake terror plot.

The dismissal of Kohli, who has scored five centuries in his two previous Test tours of Australia and rates Adelaide his favourite overseas ground, sparked wild celebrations.Vice captain Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara worked to steady the ship.

But after returning from a break, Hazlewood enticed Rahane into a drive and he edged to Handscomb in the slips for 13.Rohit Sharma, preferred in the final XI to all-rounder Hanuma Vihari, had compiled a patient 31 when he swept Lyon for six, narrowly missing being caught on the ropes.

Sharma then needlessly tried the same shot on the next ball, and this time Marcus Harris comfortably collected the catch, with the right-hander once more failing to capitalise on a good start.

India won toss

India 1st Innings

M Vijay c Paine b Starc 11

K Rahul c Finch b Hazlewood 2

C Pujara run out 123

V Kohli c Khawaja b Cummins 3

A Rahane c Handscomb b Hazlewood 13

R Sharma c Harris b Lyon 37

†R Pant c Paine b Lyon 25

R Ashwin c Handscomb b Cummins 25

I Sharma b Starc 4

M Shami not out 6

Extras (lb1) 1

Total (9 wickets, 87.5 overs) 250

To bat: J Bumrah

Fall: 1-3, 2-15, 3-19, 4-41, 5-86, 6-127, 7-189, 8-210, 9-250

Bowling: Starc 19-4-63-2, Hazlewood 19.5-3-52-2, Cummins 19-3-49-2, Lyon 28-2-83-2, Head 2-1-2-0

Australia: M Harris, A Finch, Usman Khawaja, S Marsh, T Head, P Handscomb, *†T Paine, J Hazlewood, P Cummins, N Lyon, M Starc

Umpires: Nigel Llong (England) and Kumar Dharmasena (Sri Lanka). TV umpire: Chris Gaffaney (New Zealand). Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)

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