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Pujara, Saha frustrate Australia as India close on lead

Cricket - India v Australia - Third Test cricket match - Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium, Ranchi, India - 19/03/17 - India's Wriddhiman Saha plays a shot. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Cricket - India v Australia - Third Test cricket match - Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium, Ranchi, India - 19/03/17 - India's Wriddhiman Saha plays a shot. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

By Amlan Chakraborty

RANCHI, India (Reuters) - Cheteshwar Pujara continued to frustrate Australia as he and Wriddhiman Saha batted through the opening session on the fourth day of third test on Sunday to take India close to a first innings lead.

The overnight batsmen each survived a review to power India to 435 for six at lunch in response to Australia's 451 after a wicketless session played out under an overcast sky.

Pujara was batting on 164 at the break, a marathon knock spread over nearly nine hours at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association Stadium, which is hosting its first test.

The number three batsman hit 18 boundaries and raised a century partnership with Saha, who went in to lunch with 59 runs to his name, to take the home side to within 16 of Australia's tally.

Playing his second test more than five years after his first, Australia paceman Pat Cummins (4-71) nearly completed a five-wicket haul when Saha was given out leg-before.

The batsman immediately reviewed and managed to overturn the decision after replays suggested the ball would have missed the stumps.

Saha hit off-spinner Nathan Lyon over mid-wicket for a six and took a single off O'Keefe to bring up his fifth test fifty, getting a reprieve on 51 when his fellow wicketkeeper Matthew Wade spilled an edge.

At the other end, Pujara took a single off Lyon to bring up his 150.

The right-hander also used review to prolong his stay after he was given out lbw to a sharply turning Lyon delivery when on 157.

The four-test series is tied 1-1 with Dharamsala hosting the final match from Saturday.

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

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