Cheteshwar Pujara scored his third career double hundred when India probably needed him most to guide them to a position from where they can’t lose the third Test in Ranchi. Pujara batted for an incredible 525 balls and spent 665 minutes at the crease. He has been batting since the last hour of second day of this Test, making it the longest innings by an Indian in terms of balls.
Pujara and Saha began the day with India still 91 runs behind. But their 199-run partnership for the seventh wicket helped India not only get past Australia’s tally of 451 but also take a lead of 152 runs before they declared on 603/9. Although Pujara with his double ton and Saha with his century stole the show, Ravindra Jadeja’s fifty that helped India cross 600 shouldn’t be forgotten.
In response, Australian openers had to see through eight overs till the end of the day. Unfortunately, David Warner couldn’t manage that as he was castled by Jadeja and Australia ended the day on 23/2 after nightwatchman Nathan Lyon was dismissed too with the visitors still trailing by 129 runs.
Concentration, patience and a flawless technique allowed Pujara to build pressure on Australia as he continued to feed mostly on singles with a few interspersed boundaries. India took the first innings lead courtesy Pujara too, when he glanced Cummins off his hips in the 166th over.
Apart from that, Pujara looked unperturbed by Australia’s bowling. His double century was laced with 21 boundaries, 11 of them coming against Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood who were bent on bowling as many bouncers as possible throughout the day. Almost half of his double century — 91 to be exact came through singles.
When Pujara finally took a single past square leg to bring up his double-century, the entire India team applauded from the dressing room balcony as Anil Kumble kept clicking away with even Steve Smith seen applauding it.
Pujara was given out lbw to a sharply turning Nathan Lyon delivery when on 157 but he managed to prolong Australia’s misery by using review to get the decision overturned. The 29-year-old took a single off Lyon to bring up his third double century before falling to the off-spinner.
Here are the reactions from the cricket fraternity after day four of the third Test at Ranchi.
According to the Mumbai Rent Act, @cheteshwar1 would probably have got possession of the pitch based on tenancy laws!
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 19, 2017
Great going Team India, Pujara & Saha brilliant stuff. Another good hour after tea and we should be in a strong position in this Test match
— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) March 19, 2017
— Anjum Chopra (@chopraanjum) March 19, 2017