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Series-high stand from Pujara and Rahane puts India in charge

India succeeded where Australia failed in their bid to build a substantial lead with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in fine form.

News 06 Mar 2017, 17:25 IST
AjinkyaRahane - cropped
Ajinkya Rahane (L) and Cheteshwar Pujara (R)

Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane shared an unbeaten series-high 93-run partnership as India moved into a commanding position on day three of the second Test against Australia in Bangalore.

Pujara (79 not out) and Rahane (40no) provided stability on a cracking, unpredictable track, turning the tide as they guided India to 213-4 at stumps and a lead of 126.

Ravindra Jadeja's 6-63 meant Australia could only add 39 runs to their overnight advantage, but India hit difficulties early in their second innings when they lost KL Rahul (51) to a magnificent Steve Smith catch and captain Virat Kohli (15) to an incredibly tight lbw call.

Umpire Nigel Llong deemed Josh Hazlewood's delivery to have hit the skipper's pad before bat, but Kohli immediately called for a review of the decision. TV umpire Richard Kettleborough was unable to find conclusive evidence in the narrowest of margins, though, much to Kohli's frustration.

Despite that setback India were unperturbed, and Pujara – put down by Smith on four – played with the utmost poise and precision to frustrate the impressive Hazlewood (3-57).

Rahane played his part in a solid stand that Australia will need to break early on Monday if they are to avoid losing their 1-0 advantage in the four-match series.

The tourists were 48 clear when they resumed on 237-6 and started steadily, but Mitchell Starc, who successfully reviewed when given out caught behind, swept Ravichandran Ashwin (2-84) to Jadeja at deep midwicket for 26.

Jadeja cranked it up a notch and trapped Matthew Wade (40) and Nathan Lyon off successive balls – both reviewing unsuccessfully – and he added the scalp of Hazlewood, who ballooned a shot to Rahul at long on with Australia 276 all out for a lead of 87.

Hazlewood made the breakthrough when he found the line to bowl Abhinav Mukund (16) – unable to make a positive impact in his first Test appearance since 2011 – and India's openers were soon both gone.

Smith produced a sensational catch by diving to his right at slip for a one-handed grab after Rahul had made his third fifty of the series.

Kohli was barely able to get into his stride before being given out lbw by umpire Llong, and the captain's review provided no conclusive evidence capable of overturning the decision, sending him back to the stands shaking his head.

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The Virat Kohli conundrum. Richard Kettleborough thought it was out. What do you think ? #Virat Paytm #INDvAUS

Posted by Indian Cricket Team on Monday, 6 March 2017

Jadeja, promoted to five, added just two before being bowled by Hazlewood, but Pujara made the most of his reprieve from Smith and dug in to underpin India's advance, flicking Mitchell Marsh away to bring up his half-century.

Pujara was not ploughing a lone furrow, though, with Rahane capably supporting as they rotated the strike and built a partnership that Australia were unable to penetrate.

They led India past 200 for the first time in the series and Pujara edged his sixth boundary beyond slip to add some gloss in the final over of the day.

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