Ranchi, March 19: A superb batting performance by Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha coupled with excellent bowling effort by Ravindra Jadeja put India in a commanding position on the fourth day of the third cricket Test against Australia here on Sunday (March 19).
Starting the day's proceedings from 360/6, Pujara scored a brilliant 202 (525 ball) while Saha played an innings of 117 as hosts posted a towards a massive total.
In response, Australia lost the wickets of opener David Warner (17) and Nathan Lyon (2) by left-arm spinner Jadeja. The visitors were 23/2 in 7.1 overs when umpire dislodged the bails. The visitors now trail by 129 runs and face an uphill task of saving this match on day 5.
Pujara and Saha shared a brilliant 199-run stand for the seventh wicket to propel India past Australia's first innings total of 451 all out.
Jadeja hits quickfire 50:
A late cameo from Ravindra Jadeja, who slammed a quickfire half-century, took the hosts past 600 and extend their lead to 152. Opener Murali Vijay scored 82, while Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten at 54.
Pujara slams brilliant double ton:
Earlier, India's most consistent middle-order batsman Pujara stormed his way into record books after playing a marathon innings.
Pujara became the first Indian batsman to face 500 balls in a Test innings by surpassing Rahul Dravid's previous best of 495 balls.
The right-handed batsman from Saurashtra also went on to slam another brilliant double hundred off 521 balls. He was finally dismissed at 202 (off 525 deliveries) as India lost their seventh wicket at 527.
On his course to 202, Pujara played 400 dot deliveries, showing the huge amount of concentration this Saurashtra batsman possesses. The cricketer slammed 21 boundaries en route his marathon double hundred.
Wriddhiman Saha notches up 3rd Test hundred:
The wicket-keeper batsman made most of the opportunity and helped his side steer through troubled waters. Saha slammed his career's third Test hundred as he batted for almost three sessions.
Australia were slightly unlucky as Matthew Wade dropped both the well-set Indian batsmen behind the stumps. Adding up to the visitors' frustration, Indian's overturned umpire's LBW dismissals by utilising their DRS calls very well.
Earlier, resuming the penultimate day at 360/6, Pujara and Saha batted steadily as the hosts closed the deficit slowly but surely.
The two stitched together an unbeaten 107-run stand for the seventh wicket, with Pujara batting on 164 and Saha on 59. This is the highest run partnership in the innings.
Both batsmen survived two LBW appeals before lunch as they were on the right side of their respective Decision Review System (DRS) calls.
Throughout his marathon stay at the crease, Pujara was involved in a total of six partnerships.
The Saurashtra right-hander, who was rock solid on the backfoot, took a liking to Steve O'Keefe's bowling, scoring a lot of runs off the left-arm spinner.
But what got captain Virat Kohli smiling was the fact that India got both their reviews right on the money. First Saha was given out when he was batting on 19 and the score was 362/6.
But after the diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman went upstairs, replays showed the ball was missing leg stump.
Pujara was next, taking the DRS after umpire Ian Gould had adjudged him leg before to a Lyon delivery. But reviews showed that the delivery pitched on the off-stump line and turned a tad too much to miss the leg stump, forcing the umpire to reverse his original decision.
Pujara was an epitome of concentration as he brought up his 150 in typical fashion, stealing a run with a defensive jab.
Shortly before the lunch interval, Lyon again appealed and then referred, this time for caught behind when Saha executed a sweep shot.
But replays found no evidence of contact leaving the visitors more frustrated.
Pujara and Saha batted the entire post-lunch session as well before going back in quick succession after the tea break.
After Lyon had sent back Pujara, Saha fell just three overs later when he tried to chip an O'Keefe delivery over cover only to see Maxwell pull off another excellent catch.
Jadeja and Umesh Yadav then added 54 runs between them before Kohli decided to announce the declaration.
(With inputs from agencies)