India’s number three batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara and the wicket keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha made Australia toil hard for a wicket after two wicketless session on day 4 of the Ranchi test. Pujara had been on the pitch since the third session of day 2 and denied leaving the pitch on day 3 as well. The Saurashtra batsman was still hungry to play when he even stayed for two more sessions on day 4 as well. The visitors surely had an allusion of Rahul Dravid while bowling to Cheteshwar Pujara. Pujara continued with an overnight score of 130 on day 5 and went on to notch up his third double ton in test cricket. The spunky number 3 batsman went on to play for 668 minutes in his 202 run knock after facing 525 deliveries, the most number of balls faced by an Indian batsman in an innings. Pujara went past Rahul Dravid’s record of facing 475 balls in his 270 run innings against Pakistan. The resilience, the temperament, the grit, the shot selection and the errorless marathon innings from Pujara has given team India a vital lead. The cricket world hailed Pujara for his concrete mental strength and heaped praises for one of the finest knocks ever. Pujara now also becomes the first ever player to score centuries in the inaugural test at 4 different venues.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara registers his third double ton in international cricket.
Picture credits: cricketcountry.com

In reply to Australia’s 451, India had been at 328/6 when Saha came out to bat. With Pat Cummins troubling the Indian batsman, even levelling the scores appeared a daunting task. But the wicket keeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha ensured to construct the first innings lead. There were no signs of getting Pujara’s wicket and Saha signalled the same to the visitors. He continued his innings after finishing Day 3 on 18 runs. Saha offered the same mental strength and resilience to the kangaroos and denied them a wicket in both the sessions of day 4 and surged to register his third test ton. Saha’s third test ton puts him at number two in the tally of centuries by Indian wicket keepers in test cricket. Saha’s remarkable innings ended on 117 when he fell to O’ Keefe. Records were shattered today when the Pujara-Saha pair surpassed the 69-year old record of the highest 7th wicket partnership by Hemu Adhikari and Vijay Hazare.

Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha brings up his century.
Picture credits: indianexpress.com

Later on in the innings the newly ranked number 1 bowler, Ravindra Jadeja joined the party as he notched up a quick fire 54 off 55 deliveries to provide the team a 152 run lead. Having declared the innings for 603/9, team India took on the visitors even in the last few overs of the play. After a 5-wicket haul in the first innings, Jadeja continued to make the Aussie batsman dance to his tunes as the visitors lost two early wickets to Jadeja in reply to the 152 run debt. The hefty lead and couple of early wickets have now put the hosts in a commendable position. The Day 5 play will be interesting to watch if the visitors fight back to draw the test match or if they succumb to the Indian bowlers.


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