Despite centuries from Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay, England’s dismissal of both players coupled with late wickets on day three still means it is the visitors who have the upper hand after day three of the first Test between India and England at Rajkot.
India got off to the worst possible start on day three as they lost Gautam Gambhir in the second over of the day. But if there were any fears of a collapse, they were allayed by Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay who put on a double century partnership for the second wicket.
Both Pujara and Vijay got their centuries over the course of their 209-run partnership for the second wicket, which ensured India’s slim chances of claiming victory from this game remained. However, Pujara, who was stuck on 99* at tea, didn’t go on to a big ton as both he and Vijay were dismissed in the 120s.
Virat Kohli came to the crease at the fall of Pujara’s wicket and stayed positive right till the close of play. A couple of late wickets for Adil Rashid and Zafar Ansari meant India ended day three on 319/4 still 218 runs behind England’s mammoth first innings total of 537.
Pujara speaks about his hundred at home
The hometown hero, Cheteshwar Pujara admitted that the hundred “meant a lot” to him.
"It meant a lot, I just wanted to play to my potential, rather than think about the home crowd. They bowled good lines, when the ball started reversing it was tough. I knew that if I stayed there I would get loose balls.
“Sometimes you have to respect the bowlers in international cricket. I'm expecting it to turn from day four and five. Hopefully we can get a lead and then you never know, we have a chance,” he said.
Here are the reactions from the cricket fraternity:
Former Indian international Subramaniam Badrinath:
There was plenty of praise for India's batsmen. Former England batsman James Taylor:
Credit to India both batsman have played beautifully! Englands bowlers have been outstanding though, great patience and discipline #INDvENG— James Taylor (@jamestaylor20) November 11, 2016
Pujara- quality player.#INDvENG— Jason Gillespie (@dizzy259) November 11, 2016
Balance is Vijay's middle name. Exemplary. Take a bow. #INDvENG— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) November 11, 2016
Full marks to the indian batsmen for the way they have countered some threatening deliveries of spin on a slightly helpful track #INDvENG— subramani badrinath (@s_badrinath) November 11, 2016
Cheteshwar Pujara seems to have a lucky charm in Aakash Chopra.
Every time I've come to Rajkot, I've seen a 100 from Pujara. Earlier as a Delhi player, today as a commentator— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) November 11, 2016
Former England captain Michael Vaughan:
Former Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie is certainly keeping an eye out on the India-England Test match.