Mon, Mar 20, 9:21am by Head Editor
The Third Test is now well and truly in India’s grasp now after Cheteshwar Pujara made his third double century in just his 47th Test. The knock lasted more than 11 hours and 525 balls – which means the 29-year-old moves past Rahul Dravid’s 495-ball marathon (270 runs against Pakistan in April 2004) for the longest Innings by an Indian in Test cricket.
The number three’s efforts are still well short of the longest of all time though – Englishman Len Hutton’s 364 off 847 balls against Australia in 1938.
Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha, who made 117, put together a 199-run stand for the seventh wicket to overhaul Australia’s total of 451 on day four.
Then, as the tourists tired, the hosts started to turn the screws, with Ravindra Jadeja coming in at the fall of the seventh wicket to pummel the Aussies with a run-a-ball 54 not out.
His work wasn’t done yet either, with the leg-arm spinner producing not one but two unplayable deliveries to leave Australia reeling at 2/23 at stumps.
The first of which, could be a sign of things to come against Australia’s five left-handers, with a ball hitting the footmark’s left by the bowlers and gripping back to rip David Warner’s off-stump clean out of the ground.
It was after this wicket that tempers once again flared between the two great cricketing nations, with Indian skipper Virat Kohli tapping his injured shoulder in response to the treatment that he “apparently” got when he was dismissed.
There has never been a series between these two nations that hasn’t caused headlines, and this one is certainly no different.
All of this happening on a day that started with the match in the balance, and when Pat Cummins, who again bowled with great quality for the tourists and deserved his four wickets, had Saha given out lbw with his first ball of the day, it looks as if the Aussies were right in the contest.
However, the wicketkeeper’s referral showed the ball to be missing leg stump by millimetres, the decision was then overturned, providing an indicator that it was going to be India’s day.
There is now only one team that can win the match, Australia must channel some of Pujara’s concentration and determination to ensure that they go to Saturday’s final Test of the series in Dharamsala.
The dominance of the hosts on day four has been reflected in the betting market. Australia starting the day as a $5.60 chance, have now ballooned out to the monster odds of $181 to win the match.
Australia will resume its second inning on 2/23 with two of the keys to its success on the final day at the crease, in Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw.
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