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Pujara, Vijay keep India on track (Lead Tea)

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Rajkot, Nov 11 (IANS) Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay continued to bat steadily as India reached 228/1 in their first innings on the third day of the first cricket Test against England at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Friday.

Pujara weathered some rough attention from the England pacers in the early part of his innings and was unbeaten on 99 when tea was called. Vijay was batting on 86 at the other end.

Coming together after the fall of Gautam Gambhir, the duo have produced an unbeaten stand of 160 runs.

India now trail England's sizeable first innings total of 537 by 309 runs.

England pacer Stuart Broad claimed the only wicket to fall so far on the third day, trapping opener Gautam Gambhir for figures of 1/32.

The day did not start too brightly for the hosts. Gambhir and Vijay, who produced an opening stand of 68, could only add five runs to India's overnight score before Gambhir was trapped leg before by Broad on 29.

Gambhir moved too far across his stumps to be hit on his pads in front of middle and off. The Delhi left-hander, who has made a comeback to the Test squad after a prolonged period, hit four boundaries during his 72-delivery stay in the middle.

Pujara then joined Vijay in the middle and the duo ensured that the hosts lost no more wickets before lunch with an unbeaten partnership of 94 runs.

Pujara did face some trouble against the England pacers, particularly from Chris Woakes, who hit him three times on the helmet.

Both Pujara and Vijay were much better against the England spinners, however, and Vijay brought up his half-century in style with a six over long-on off left-arm spinner Zafar Ansari.

Vijay, however, was lucky to survive on three occasions, getting a leading edge when looking to drive Ansari against the turn, edging Woakes wide of slip, and not picking a Rashid delivery in the last over before lunch.

After lunch, Pujara and Vijay batted steadily, albeit a bit slowly to add 66 runs by the tea break to help consolidate India's position.

Pujara survived a scare while on 86 when the umpire adjudged him leg before off Ansari's bowling. The Indians called for review of the verdict and the much maligned Decision Review System (DRS) came to Pujara's rescue.

The Saurashtra batsman survived a few nervous minutes going into the tea break, spending eight balls on 99 before the teams went in for the break.

Brief scores:

India (First Innings): 228/1 (Cheteshwar Pujara 99 batting, Murali Vijay 86 batting; Stuart Broad 1/32) vs England 537.

--IANS

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