Published:  12:00 AM, 20 March 2017

Pujara, Saha give India crucial lead over Aussies

Pujara, Saha give India crucial lead over Aussies Cheteshwar Pujara raises his bat and helmet as he celebrates after completing a double century during the 4th day of the third Test between India and Australia at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) Stadium Complex in Ranchi yesterday. -AFP

Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha frustrated Australia's bowlers with a marathon stand and earned India a crucial first-innings lead in the third Test on Sunday. Cheteshwar Pujara (202) and Wriddhiman Saha (117) put on 199 for the seventh wicket. Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten on 54. India declared their first innings on 603 for nine in the final session of day four.

At the day end, Australia were 23 for two at stumps on day four, trailing India by 129 runs in their second innings. Opener Matt Renshaw was batting on seven before India's Ravindra Jadeja got the wickets of David Warner (14) and Nathan Lyon (2) in an absorbing final session of play.

After the pair had batted through two sessions on day four in Ranchi without losing a wicket, India were 503 for six at tea, 52 ahead of Australia. Pujara was on 190 and Saha on 99. The pair neutered Australia's bowling attack as they extended their partnership to 175 after India resumed the day on 360 for six. Pujara, who started the day on 130, hit 20 boundaries amid an otherwise sedate knock at India's newest Test venue.  Saha, who recorded his fifth Test fifty, hit seven fours and a six to close in on what could be his third century.

However, both batsmen benefited from the decision review system after successfully overturning lbw calls in the morning session.  Saha was on 19 and Pujara on 157 when the ball tracking technology revealed their respective deliveries would have missed leg stump.

Earlier in the day Saha and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood exchanged words at the end of an over before umpire Ian Gould quickly stepped into caution the players. Pat Cummins has claimed four wickets so far while fellow paceman Hazlewood and left-arm spinner Steve O'Keefe have taken one each. The four-match series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is tied 1-1.



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