India defy spirited Australian attack

2017-03-26 11:35
Cheteshwar Pujara (Gallo Images)

Dharamsala - India's top-order batted resolutely to defy a relentless bowling attack on the second day of the decisive fourth and final Test against Australia on Sunday.

India's resistance was exemplified by opener Lokesh Rahul (60) and Cheteshwar Pujara who struck half-centuries to take the hosts to 153-2 at tea.

Pujara, coming into the match on the back of an epic 202-run knock in the drawn Ranchi Test, was batting on 53 to take his run tally past the 400-run mark in the series.

He now trails in second place behind Australian skipper Steve Smith (482 runs) in the series batting charts.

Ajinkya Rahane, standing in for injured skipper Virat Kohli, was unbeaten on 19 when tea was called.

India trail by 147 runs with eight wickets in hand after Australia made 300 in their first knock, largely thanks to a fine 111-run knock by Smith.

The post-lunch session saw a gruelling contest between the bat and the ball with the hosts scoring 89 runs from 32 overs while losing one wicket.

Rahul, dropped on 14 by Matt Renshaw at first slip off Pat Cummins, gained in confidence after a cautious start to his innings.

He lofted left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe for a six over the midwicket and then smashed a short ball from Josh Hazlewood for a stinging four over the gully.

The 24-year-old right-hander raced to his fifth half-century of the series and sixth in Tests with a boundary off O'Keefe.

Rahul's belligerence ended when he tried to hook a bouncer from Cummins but ended up offering a simple catch to David Warner in the covers.

He shared 87 runs for the second wicket with Pujara after India lost Murali Vijay early for 11.

Rahane started off with a four and a six on successive balls off Cummins in a bid to counter-attack against some spirited short bowling.

Words were exchanged with long stares on a couple of occasions but mostly the players remained within the boundaries of good behaviour in what has otherwise been a fractious series.

With the series tied 1-1 going into the finale, top-ranked India must win the match to regain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

Australia, who triumphed at home in 2014-15, need just a draw to retain the trophy.

Read more on:    india  |  australia  |  cheteshwar pujara  |  cricket


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