India vs Australia: Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane Give Hosts Hope
Mar 06 2017 by Dustin Murphy
On a hard, dry, cracking pitch, the duo batted the entire final session and lifted India's lead to 126 runs.
In the morning session, left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja took a six-wicket haul to help dismiss Australia for 276 in their first innings, a lead of 87. In actual fact, I have a feeling that 45 minutes of big hitting by Mitchell Starc could put India out of the game and with it, the series.
Jadeja (02) sent early, perished at the same speed clean bowled by Hazalwood who again uprooted the stumps of the left hander. With the first-innings lead already at 48 runs, they will be hoping to stretch their advantage beyond the 100-run mark. They ended up giving away only 37. Jadeja finished with the last wicket of the innings, snaffling 3 out of 4 wickets that fell on Day Three morning.
India had begun their second innings on a positive note going into the lunch at 38 for no loss.
After the home side experienced another batting collapse to be bowled out for 189 on the first day, India needed their bowlers to step up. But Pujara looked set and India could have very well build on it but Josh Hazlewood had other plans in mind. For Steven Smith, it was a "once bitten, twice shy" moment.
Remedial sessions that focused on footwork to meet and beat the turn, as well as tweaks made to the manner and depth at which the India batters retreated into the crease to negotiate the violent spin and unpredictable bounce that this most uncharacteristic Bengaluru pitch is dishing up. He had taken 8 for 50 in 22.2 overs in the first innings. Lyon managed to extract a good amount of bounce and turn, and he was bowling at the ideal pace to make it all effective. This wasn't a pitch for the flowing drive, with the ball not coming on to the bat and a straight, catching midwicket waiting for the inside edge or the uppish flick. His defence was solid and his attack was a result of some clear thinking.
India would like to double their lead and take it to at least 250 runs to make a match of it.
As has been the case so many times this season, a break caused a lapse in concentration for India. With no clear evidence suggesting whether or not there was a nick involved before the impact, the third umpire told Llong to stick with his decision.
With the lead just at 25, it was a hammer blow to India's chances.
The partnership between Pujara (79*) and Rahane (40*) is the highest from either side in this series.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the second day's play, Pujara mused, "We are very much in the game and they also have to bat fourth". There was enough rough for Ashwin and that was the reason Ashwin had to bowl more overs.
After the departure of Starc, Australia lost their remaining three wickets for just seven runs in 4.4 overs with Jadeja claiming all of them. They were involved in a 93-run partnership for the fifth wicket and that kept India afloat.