Published: Sun, March 19, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

India force advantage on 4th day

India force advantage on 4th day

The overnight Indian pair of Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha played out a clean and wicketless session in the morning session of Day 4 in Ranchi, bringing their side within touching distance of Australia's first innings tally.

Australia's most successful bowler of the day - Pat Cummins (4/59) - at the other end dismissed Ravichandran Ashwin (3) after the visitors successfully used a review.

India captain Virat Kohli declared after India crossed the 600-run mark with a boundary Jadeja tucked off his ribs. Vijay went at the stroke of lunch, stumped, and then Kohli had another failure in the series when he was snared by Pat Cummins. In the first 120 balls Pujara faced he scored only 28 runs, before scoring 77 in the next 100 balls. The left-arm spinner looked a huge threat and beat Matt Renshaw couple of times, and managed to get through Warner's defense to send him back to the pavilion.

But for Pujara's 92 in Bangalore, Australia would surely have gone 2-0 up in the series, and the century in Ranchi - his fourth of a home season in which he has scored 1187 runs at 65.94 - gives the Indian spinners a chance to put pressure on Australia's line-up on a fourth-day surface.

Pujara batted more than five sessions in his unbeaten innings, spanning 10 hours and 53 minutes, as his showed his love for occupying the crease for long hours. After that, Saha gave flawless support to Pujara as they saw off the day without any hiccup. "It's quite evenly poised". In the middle session, I think they had the better of us.

Australia were 23/2 at stumps, needing another 129 to avoid innings defeat on the final day on Monday.

Having got the solitary wicket of KL Rahul with a rising delivery on Friday, Cummins was introduced in the ninth over of the day and the duo of Pujara and Vijay was happy when the pacer was through with his spell.

Already frustrated by a lack of penetration against stubborn and strong defence by India's batsmen, the Aussies must have been ready to explode just one ball later.

# Players on the field now.

The four-match series is now level at 1-1 after Australia won the series opener at Pune by 333 runs, and India levelled with a 75-run win in Bangalore.

(S.P.D. Smith 178 not out, G.J. Maxwell 104, M.T. Renshaw 44; R.A. Jadeja 5-124, U.T. Yadav 3-106). His footwork against Lyon and O' Keefe was exemplary.

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