Pujara-Saha 150 stand puts India ahead

India 435 for 6 (Pujara 164*, Saha 59*) trail Australia 451 by 16 runs
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Cheteshwar Pujara faced over 400 balls in his innings © Associated Press

Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha took India close to parity with Australia on the fourth morning of the Ranchi Test, as a pair of DRS close calls went in favour of the hosts.

Pat Cummins, who again bowled with great quality for the tourists, had Saha given out lbw with his first ball of the day, but the batsman’s referral showed the ball to be missing leg stump by millimetres.

Closer to lunch, Pujara was given out lbw to a delivery that Nathan Lyon straighted down the line of the stumps from around the wicket, but his review showed the ball to be spinning too much and also sliding past leg stump.

These moments allowed Pujara to carry on past 150 in a performance that effectively matched the big hundred made by Australia’s captain Steven Smith. Likewise, Saha was able to hang in the middle to frustrate a touring team that had started the day with hopes of quickly rolling up the India tail and setting a fourth-innings target.

Cummins had briefly enjoyed the sensation of claiming a fifth wicket of the innings in his return to Test cricket nearly six years after his storied debut against South Africa in Johannesburg. Saha was nowhere near a ball angled into him, and there was some discussion with Pujara before he reviewed. The Australians were floored when ball-tracking showed the ball to be missing leg stump.

From there, Pujara and Saha accumulated slowly against bowling that remained disciplined under an overcast sky that compelled the umpires to turn on the stadium floodlights. Pujara’s 150 was a marker of his concentration and temperament against bowling that rarely lapsed into looseness.

Lyon was not used until midway through the session, and from around the stumps he appeared to have found a way to winkle out Pujara when the umpire Ian Gould raised his finger in response to the lbw appeal. However, HawkEye again went India’s way.

Shortly before the interval, Lyon again appealed and then referred, this time for caught behind when Saha essayed a sweep shot. But replays found no evidence of contact and left the Australians having made no progress for their morning’s efforts. India, by contrast, had plenty to be happy about.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.


Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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