India in strong position after 3 days of 1st test
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — First-innings century maker Cheteshwar Pujara again blunted Australia’s attack to put India in a strong position after a rain-interrupted third day of the first test on Saturday.
India reached stumps at 151 for three in its second innings, an overall lead of 166 runs. Pujara was 40 not out and Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on one run.
Pujara shared a 71-run third-wicket partnership with captain Virat Kohli. They threatened to bat through the session before Kohli prodded to short-leg from the bowling of spinner Nathan Lyon.
Kohli made 34 from 104 deliveries but fell to Lyon for the sixth time in his test career. Kohli received a hostile reception from the Adelaide Oval crowd on his way to the crease and he was watchful against probing Australian bowling.
With footmarks to aim at, Lyon was the main threat, but Pujara successfully reviewed decisions twice from his bowling.
India’s second innings was delayed due to rain interruptions either side of lunch. Openers Murali Vijay and K.L. Rahul produced a 63-run partnership, their highest outside of India. Vijay fell to Mitchell Starc for 18 and Rahul (44 off 67 balls) was dismissed just before tea by Josh Hazlewood.
The out-of-form Rahul only scored one run off his first 25 deliveries. After seeing off Starc, he opened up and counterattacked Pat Cummins, hitting a cover drive for six.
″(The match is) slightly in our favor because we have a good lead,” India paceman Jasprit Bumrah said. “The first session (of day four) will be very important. If we capitalize on that, we will be in a very good place in this match.”
India had a first-innings lead of 15 runs after bowling out Australia for 235. After sweltering conditions during the opening two days, only 10.4 overs were bowled in the first session.
Travis Head top-scored for Australia with 72 and equaled his highest test score. He received invaluable support from Lyon, who hit an unbeaten 24 from 28 balls.
India’s four-pronged attack shared the wickets with Bumrah and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picking up three apiece.
Head said the wicket of Kohli gave Australia hope.
“It was a nice little wicket there at the end,” Head said. “I thought the bowlers did a great job of containing and continuing to put pressure on. It makes for a big hour (to start day four).”
Australia resumed day three at 191 for 7, but it was Lyon who stole the show after the early wicket of Starc. Lyon dominated the strike in his partnership with Head and counterattacked with a six off a hook shot from Mohammed Shami’s first delivery.
Two balls later, Head played away from his body to be caught behind and Hazlewood fell first ball, leaving Shami on a hat trick when Australia bats in its second innings.
A crowd of 30,348 braved the inclement conditions to record the second highest attendance for a day’s play between the teams in Adelaide.
Sixteen overs were lost on day three after the rain delays. Days four and five will start 30 minutes earlier.