- Australia 451 & 23-2; India 603-9 dec
- Australia lose two wickets before close of play
And here’s your match report:
Related: Australia under pressure after India dominate day four of third Test
STUMPS DAY FOUR: Australia 23-2 (Renshaw 7)
Stumps here on day four – a day where India made monumental strides toward victory in Ranchi. Pujara and Saha picked up where they left off with a display of precision and concentration that didn’t relent throughout the day. Both brought up well-deserved milestones of 200 and 100 respectively, before falling in pursuit of quick runs that ultimately rendered Australia survivors and no longer challengers. While both were superb, Pujara’s knock deserves special mention. To underscore how gargantuan his innings was, in compiling his 202 he broke the record for India’s longest individual innings – no mean feat given the competitors in that field.
8th over: Australia 23-2 (Renshaw 7)
Bowled him! Lyon plays for a straight one but Jadeja gets it to grip. It hits the top of off and Australia are in tatters. After an innocuous first over Jadeja really found his pace and accuracy and he’s left a gaping wound in Australia now. That was a great delivery. That ends the day now. It was India’s in every way. Some thoughts shortly to wrap up.
7th over: Australia 23-1 (Lyon 2, Renshaw 7)
It’s Renshaw v Ashwin now, and ball two sees Renshaw work a shortish one that Pujara can’t reel in. He’s lucky, Renshaw, because three would have seen Lyon on strike and him risking a meeting with Jadeja next over. A much better match up from an Australian point of view. He’s forward, bat well out in front of pad to minimise the bat pad opportunity, and he sees out the over. Jadeja at the other end looms as the main danger.
6th over: Australia 19-1 (Lyon 2, Renshaw 3)
So Jadeja accounts for a hapless Warner, and the brains trust send Lyon to the crease. It’s not a bad tactic if only because Lyon is right handed. Jadeja is around the wicket straight away and his second ball elicits a shout for LBW! They don’t review, it was going down leg. Slightly less indecision for the right hander with Jadeja bowling from this angle – the rough is everything. Still, it’s dangerous! Despite men all around his bat, Lyon survives.
Bowled him! Wonderful delivery from Jadeja. He’s going to be unbelievably difficult to handle here. He hits the rough and it jags back furiously, through Warner’s gate and straight into the stumps. Really, really ominous signs here. Every ball a grenade. Honestly think a right hander would be better suited here. And it’s Lyon!
5th over: Australia 17-0 (Warner 14, Renshaw 3)
Warner, playing his natural game, gets down the wicket to Ashwin and scampers a single wide of mid off. He brings Renshaw on strike and he looks a little better against Ashwin’s right arm offspin. There’s also less men around him, perhaps helping his cause. Renshaw wisely sees off Ashwin, leaving him at the other end as Jadeja prepares himself to spear it into that nasty rough.
4th over: Australia 16-0 (Warner 13, Renshaw 3)
Renshaw’s struggling here. He French cuts himself in defence to Jadeja’s first ball, and there are three men waiting for him on the leg side as the left arm orthodox is aiming into the rough. He nearly finds them in the next two balls. The next couple go straight and beat his outside edge. Renshaw will want to be at the other end. The pitch is alive now, obviously.
3rd over: Australia 16-0 (Warner 13, Renshaw 3)
Fewer men around Warner’s bat to face Ashwin, but he’s nearly finding bat pad as one just goes past the man under the lid. Warner then lofts Ashwin over mid off streakily! It was not convincing by any stretch. Why, David. Why? Because it’s natural, that’s why. Ashwin then beats Warner on the inside and there’s a shout! The umpire says no, India agree. It was going down leg. A couple of dots and that one’s done.
2nd over: Australia 12-0 (Warner 9, Renshaw 3)
It’s Jadeja from the other end. He’s over the crease to Renshaw and delivering from a particularly wide position. They’ve got a leg slip in there too, and Renshaw is prodding at the second ball nervously. He manages to get one down to deep backward square and is off strike, thankfully for him. As if to bring Renshaw back on strike, Jadeja pitches short and Warner is through for one. But it’s a carbon copy, because Renshaw finds two through the same area. He’s not on the money yet Jadeja, the deliveries are coming in at slow-medium pace, and the new ball is rendering any revolutions redundant. That’s the over, probably didn’t offer the examination Kohli would have liked.
1st over: Australia 8-0 (Warner 8, Renshaw 0)
Kohli’s on the field, there’s men around the bat, the crowd all of a sudden a little deafening. It’s Ashwin to begin. Brett Lee already suggests Warner needs to ‘play his natural game’. I find that an extraordinary comment. Is there no concession to the game status? Must everything be natural? We’ll see. Ashwin’s first ball is flat and goes on straight. ‘Ooh’s and ahh’s’ result. So does a slow motion replay of Kohli’s mouth. Let’s accept that. Silly mid-off, short leg, slip. A half-shout for one that Warner inside edges onto his pad. A second slip comes in. Ashwin then pitches short and Warner punches him through point for four. It was a poor delivery. ‘Boom’, says Brett Lee. Same again to finish the over, two boundaries from it. Not that it matters.
With 90+ overs in a day and still eight to bowl here, it will take a gargantuan, famous effort for Australia to survive here. There have been some encouraging signs in relation to their batting, but this surely serves as their sternest test yet. Is there a twist to come?
210th over: India 603-9d (Jadeja 54, Sharma 0)
Jadeja caps his fifty with a boundary through extra cover, and finishes India’s innings with a tuck off the hips for four. Kohli then calls in his charges and it will be a searching eight overs for Australia to try and survive before the close of play. I’ll wrap up the Indian innings at the end of the day, for now we brace ourselves for a period that may well come to define the series. Can India find gremlins in the wicket? Do Australia have the wherewithal to get through this? We’ve endured some grind to get to this point, but there’s some captivating stuff ahead. Would love to hear your thoughts as we get underway in a matter of minutes.
@sjjperry Interestingly poised match now. Tired Aus put in to bat for 40 minutes, performance may determine the outcome of the match.
A killer knock from Jadeja, who has skilfully cashed in on tiring Australian bowlers. Some brilliant shots over the top for six interspersed with others crashed through the off side.
209th over: India 595-9 (Jadeja 46, Sharma 0)
Yadav’s wicket brings Sharma to the crease. He gets comical cheers from his home crowd for his exaggerated forward defence. Men surround the bat, and occasionally O’Keefe beats it, but he survives.
Steve O’Keefe is rapidly racing up this list. Now equal 22nd on most deliveries ever bowled in an innings: https://t.co/0W1E04E2OZ #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/TqKvUF0TUV
Yadav is down the deck to O’Keefe and he tries to heave him over Warner at mid-off. He doesn’t connect with any purity at all, instead slicing the ball to Australia’s opener. A good knock all told. There’s no declaration, Sharma is heading to the crease.
208th over: India 595-8 (Jadeja 46, Yadav 16)
Cummins is back. He’ll want (and deserves) five, but he has a few problems in the meantime. Yadav back cuts him for four through third man (is there any more annoying place to concede a boundary), and gets another through there via the front foot now. The partnership passes fifty, Cummins throws his head back and grimaces wildly. He no-look-hooks Cummins to finish the over, and you can hear Michael Clarke say ‘shot!’ through someone else’s microphone. All India here. With 12 overs remaining today a declaration must be imminent.
207th over: India 586-8 (Jadeja 46, Yadav 7)
Jadeja comes at O’Keefe then retreats – Wade has the bails off and the umpire wants to have a look. Jadeja is well safe. He always follows these events with a slog, and gets himself two via thick inside edge. Two more dots precede another six straight over the bowler’s head. It’s good looking stuff from the left hander, he plays with real silk.
206th over: India 578-8 (Jadeja 38, Yadav 7)
Another innocuous start to the over before a big appeal for LBW is turned down. Australia, of course, have no reviews remaining. Making matters worse/better, Jadeja then creams Lyon straight back over his head for six. One can only imagine the sound of the thud of the ball on that white parachute material near the sightscreen. Lyon buries his head in his hands, a wry smile in accompaniment. There’s a single to finish, he’ll retain the strike.
205th over: India 570-8 (Jadeja 31, Yadav 6)
More singles to the batsmen from O’Keefe. The game is kind of ambling now. India perhaps timing themselves for 10-15 overs at the Australians, and no more. It condemns Australia to mere defence, so it makes sense. Any other views out there? Are India timing this perfectly or just very well?
.@pmnevill caught reverse sweeping. Courageous effort by @CricketNSWBlues getting within 7 runs of a #SheffieldShield final needing 403.
204th over: India 568-8 (Jadeja 30, Yadav 5)
We return from drinks to see the Indian side almost all in whites, awaiting a declaration. Then again, Kohli is calmly stirring his tea. The tension. Meanwhile Jadeja and Yadav exchange singles from Lyon’s bowling, while Australia awaits another last innings examination. Some real pressure on the horizon.
203rd over: India 565-8 (Jadeja 28, Yadav 4)
They’ve just settled down a little now, India. Gone are the extravagant swishes of ten overs ago, in are nifty little dabs and hastily scrambled singles. All of it drives the nail deeper and deeper into Australia’s cause, and attention now turns to their ability to survive. It’s got collapse written all over it, doesn’t it? O’Keefe, meanwhile, has bowled 74 overs.
202nd over: India 562-8 (Jadeja 26, Yadav 3)
Jadeja finds two through third man after some really sharp running. Hazlewood, as has been his approach to conceding runs, directs the next past Jadeja’s hip and avoids conceding more. Later on Yadav dabs one through vacant mid on for a single, and Jadeja gets another to third man. Hard to see a way out for Australia now, presuming the pitch will (seem to) misbehave once Australia starts batting*
@sjjperry Per Hayden on TV Hazlewood has been bowling “unrelentlessly.” I think the Australian George Bush is misunderstimating the bowler.
201st over: India 557-8 (Jadeja 22, Yadav 2)
Only one from O’Keefe’s over. Jadeja grabs a single and Yadav spends the rest keeping him out.
200th over: India 556-8 (Jadeja 21, Yadav 2)
A little more circumspect from India here. There was talk a message had been conveyed to bat a little more frugally, and Jadeja is watchful here. Nevertheless he manages to run one through the vacant third man for four before aggressively pulling another for one.
@dizzy259 in fact Pujara has equalled the record set by Fleming (NZ) for most number of Test double hundreds by a batsman called Steve (3)
199th over: India 551-8 (Jadeja 16, Yadav 2)
O’Keefe’s back over the wicket now and the trajectory is flatter than a Melbourne beach. He abandons that angle to come around, but he’s met by stern Yadav defence. A new tactic? That approach remains for the over, meaning Jadeja will face Hazlewood from the other end.
198th over: India 550-8 (Jadeja 15, Yadav 2)
It’s Hazlewood now, and he had Yadav swinging and missing early in the over. He then pitches short and Yadav is late on it in an attempt to pull the ball. It catches the splice and carries to O’Keefe who dives to his left and drops the one-handed attempt. It would have been an excellent catch, particularly for a bloke who’s bowled 71 overs. Jadeja then attempts a suicidal run but survives after Handscomb can’t effect the underarm from side-on.
197th over: India 547-8 (Jadeja 13, Yadav 1)
O’Keefe finds the breakthrough in his 71st(!) over, giving him two for this innings. Yadav comes in, gets off strike, allowing Jadeja to charge and loft O’Keefe wide of long on for another boundary. He’s striking at over 100 here, and Australia will be hoping there’s not more to come.
And now it’s Saha on his way. O’Keefe is pitching just outside off and Saha tries to lift him over cover. He can’t though, and succeeds only in finding Maxwell at hip height. It ends an outstanding innings that’s taken the game away from Australia, and he’s commended heartily for it from the Ranchi crowd. India lead by 91.
196th over: India 541-7 (Jadeja 8, Saha 116)
Jadeja’s in on the act now, cutting Lyon behind the haplessly outstretched dive of Hazlewood. Lyon seems to be getting some venomous bounce but both seem to be using it to their advantage.
195th over: India 536-7 (Jadeja 4, Saha 116)
Hard not to laugh as the camera’s zoom in on emerging puffs of dust from O’Keefe’s deliveries. Jadeja is warned for running on the wicket, and there’s a few singles sprinkled throughout the over. There’s an in-out field, so that’s to be expected. Australia’s best hope is a couple of poorly judged shots, but there appears little sign of that with Saha in such great touch.
194th over: India 532-7 (Jadeja 2, Saha 114)
Pujara welcomes Lyon’s over with a rank, rash slog to midwicket for two. And then he’s gone! It’s described below, and it brings (Sir) Ravindra Jadeja to the crease. He’s immediately finding a single, before Saha executes a classic late cut for three. The runs will not abate, but can Australia find some wickets? They’re on the carousel here and just about at India’s mercy.
Finally, a wicket! Pujara departs after a mammoth, epic 202. We’d been discussing Australian fatigue but no doubt he was feeling similarly. Here he chips Lyon innocuously to mid wicket to Maxwell, bringing to a close a memorable, record breaking innings. He leaves India with a lead of 76, and a mountainous personal legacy.
193rd over: India 525-6 (Pujara 200, Saha 111)
Saha is almost running at O’Keefe every delivery here, but he’s beaten in flight just about every time. That forces Saha to play from his crease – waiting, waiting for his opportunity. He gets one – he clears his stumps and hits O’Keefe with the spin over cover, and the ball spins away to the boundary. Nearly in ODI mode here. Australia, having bowled nearly 200 overs, are on the ropes now. It could get a little ugly.
192nd over: India 521-6 (Pujara 200, Saha 107)
It’s Lyon to continue, and Pujara gets his double! When the history is written about this one, we’ll be reading about a feat of concentration. It’s the longest innings in Indian cricket history, and he’s been near unflappable. The ground is ecstatic, as are his team mates. He’s also managed to drive India into an imperious position here in this Test. No doubt he’ll continue on.
191st over: India 519-6 (Pujara 199, Saha 106)
Maxwell is bowling to a 3-6 field. He’s around the wicket with mass protection on the legside, but both batsman manage to pierce it early for singles. Saha is then down the deck and he just clears Renshaw at mid off. It’s clawed in to prevent a boundary but the intention is clear. Seven more runs from the over.
190th over: India 512-6 (Pujara 196, Saha 102)
Spin from both ends as O’Keefe nears Warne’s 70 overs in Cape Town in 2002. If facing 100 balls is a Cowan ton, what does bowling 70 overs net you? Lower back problems, probably. As if to show his fatigue, O’Keefe drops short and Pujara pounces immediately, pulling him violently for four over mid wicket. There’s a single and a scampered two, meaning seven from the over. India’s attack has commenced, methinks.
189th over: India 505-6 (Pujara 191, Saha 100)
Maxwell kicks things off to start the final session and Saha, on strike at 99 not out, is able to work him behind square to bring up his ton. He’s been outstanding for the whole day, and his teammates celebrate with grandiosity – all fist pumps and cheering – as do the crowd.
Just to underscore the toil of Australia’s bowlers, a good pickup here from Ric Finlay
Have to go back to Warnie at Cape Town, 2002 (70 overs) to find an Aussie who’s bowled more in an inns than SOK (currently 67). #IndvAus
As grinding a session as this series has produced. Pujara and Saha carried on where they left off, and almost have India out of Australia’s sight here. They’ve not been dogged so much as measured. They withstood an early bouncer assault from Cummins and the reverse-swinging efforts of Hazlewood, and remained comfortable throughout. Nevertheless, 68 runs in 26 overs means that some attack should be forthcoming. One imagines it should come after both pass their impending milestones of 100 (Saha) and 200 (Pujara) respectively.
For Australia, there will be conjecture about whether some variety was needed in attack, but I’m happy to back Steve Smith’s approach. Once wickets seemed distant, Smith was set on limiting India’s attack by any measure. That amounted to O’Keefe bowling for the majority of the session at both batsman’s pads, and Cummins bowling bouncers. It was effective enough, but whether it will buy enough time to allow Australia to stave off defeat, we’ll find out.
188th over: India 503-6 (Pujara 190, Saha 99)
Attention turns to Wriddhiman Saha, who needs two runs for a ton heading into the last ball before tea. He gets a single but that’s where he’ll remain as Pujara can’t farm it. I’m sure he’ll be fine though. Lyon found some turn there, but we’ll have to wait until after tea to find out whether or not he can find it again. A huge session for India – it leaves them in control of this game. Though perhaps not quite as unassailable as a wicketless session might seem because it was fairly slow going. Australia should take some credit for that. Some thoughts shortly before I return for the last session of the day.
187th over: India 501-6 (Pujara 189, Saha 98)
India notch 500 now, and there’s a slight sense they’re batting with a fraction more urgency too. O’Keefe, curiously, has decided to adopt an attacking angle by coming around the wicket. He may be playing on milestone nerves by changing something, and does beat Saha at the end of the over. The batsman tries to back cut him unsuccessfully and Wade groans upon receiving it. He survives. India lead by 50.
186th over: India 499-6 (Pujara 188, Saha 97)
Some good old-fashioned action! Saha is down the wicket and hitting Lyon flat and hard over mid off for a boundary. India upping the ante now? Would stand to reason – they’re 48 ahead and probably comfortable enough to take a risk. Methodical stuff. Some milestones around the corner might be Australia’s best chance to make something happen.
185th over: India 493-6 (Pujara 187, Saha 92)
Overs thick and fast now as O’Keefe and Lyon go in tandem. It’s notable for a misfield from Lyon; evidence of tiring legs, minds, and everything else. There’s three from the over.
184th over: India 490-6 (Pujara 186, Saha 90)
So now we see Lyon, who’s apparently in excruciating pain due to some abrasion on his spinning finger. Is that a badge of honour for spinners? As an aside, I know a former first class spinner for NSW who had his wedding ring specially re-shaped to fit his spinning finger. That information should give you some clues (to his art, anyway). Lyon seems comfortable enough though, but so too do Saha and Pujara who both work him through leg for four separate runs. Saha’s into the nineties.
183rd over: India 485-6 (Pujara 185, Saha 87)
O’Keefe continues. There’s an early run to Saha, and defence for the rest. To step back a second here: India lead by 35 with five and a bit sessions to go. Of course they will fancy themselves to knock Australia over in a day, so the question is: how far ahead can they get today? It’s a question that may well explain Smith’s reluctance to turn to part-timers. If he bowls Maxwell and himself, India may capitalise. It’s park the bus time for Australia.
182nd over: India 485-6 (Pujara 185, Saha 86)
It’s Cummins and it’s bouncers. Saha simply ducks. He then goes for the sucker punch outside off stump but Saha almost bats it back. You have to hand it to Cummins, bowling at 140+ he is trying absolutely everything to find something from this wicket, but the batsmen are too good; too ‘in’. Still, this isn’t an annihilation by any stretch. The game isn’t progressing forward at any exhilarating rate, so while that’s the case, we may still have some drama ahead. But for now, it’s attritional.
Most enthralling sporting contest right now is WA v NSW Sheffield Shield.
NSW needs 93 runs in 20 odd overs to make final.
181st over: India 484-6 (Pujara 185, Saha 85)
A little more expansive from Saha v O’Keefe now. The ball remains flat, but there’s a lap sweep and a nice drive to long off. The Hawkesbury man is being used as defensive foil and you can understand it. Questions about removing him for another paceman in search of a break for light seem to have abated too. Still, it will be Cummins from the other end.
180th over: India 480-6 (Pujara 184, Saha 82)
So a little subplot emerging here, as Cummins adopts that shortened length to Saha. Is he doing that to make the fading light a factor? No doubt Australia would love to soak up time, however they can get it. He has a leg slip and a man under the lid, so his tactics are clear. Saha is ducking and swaying with aplomb; he doesn’t look overly fazed. The camera pans to Kohli and back, he looks pensive. It does look dark out there.
179th over: India 480-6 (Pujara 184, Saha 82)
I mentioned the clouds earlier, and now there appears to be a question over the light. The umpires confer and they return pretty quickly to O’Keefe’s over. Will go out on a slight limb and guess India are pretty happy to keep batting. It’s a hunch. O’Keefe is flat, over the wicket and outside leg again. These are the attritional parts of a Test match that, frankly, Australia have been poor at managing previously. Unless Australia can conjure something out of the ordinary soon, we might start to consider their path to a draw because that appears more and more to be their best option.
178th over: India 478-6 (Pujara 183, Saha 81)
Cummins returns to replace Hazlewood, and nearly grabs Saha after the keeper whips one just short of midwicket. That was uppish. He gets himself off strike, and allows Pujara to deal with the Penrith clubman. The lights are on at the ground here – there appears to be some cloud hovering. It’s not assisting with the sort of movement Australia would like though, as Pujara and Saha bring up their 150 run partnership.
177th over: India 474-6 (Pujara 182, Saha 78)
O’Keefe adopts the seventh stump line (outside leg, that is). The line is almost comically leg side before he polishes it somewhat to a more respectable ‘just outside leg’ line. No runs and he slows the game. Result gained, I suppose.
Pujara has played no shot or defended 255 balls; that is more balls than all players, other than Smith, have faced in the Test. #IndvAus
176th over: India 474-6 (Pujara 182, Saha 78)
Hazlewood, both hands on the ball, is managing to move it both ways. He’s managed to restrict Saha’s scoring for a decent period, but a short ball allows the wicketkeeper to uppercut him towards third man. He didn’t get all of it, but picks up two for his efforts. He’s then inside edging one on to his pads, underscoring Hazlewood’s movement. Still, India march on.
175th over: India 471-6 (Pujara 181, Saha 76)
A maiden from O’Keefe to start post drinks proceedings. Very hard to see a flurry of wickets for the visitors here. Many parallels with England now, where they batted deep in the first innings, only to be trounced in the second. What odds that India can elicit some misbehaviour from the wicket when they bowl? Doesn’t seem much doing here.
174th over: India 471-6 (Pujara 181, Saha 76)
Hazlewood aims to strangle Pujara down leg but the batsman is up to the task, tickling him fine past a outstretched Wade to the boundary. Later in the over he cuts Pujara in half with one that ducks in mightily. It’s an absolute ripper and Wade does well to glove it. There’s a muted appeal though all and sundry know that while there was a noise, it was solely pad. Better signs for Hazlewood there.
173rd over: India 467-6 (Pujara 177, Saha 76)
O’Keefe is spearing into the pads again. A short one afford Pujara a single, otherwise there’s little else notable to speak of.
172nd over: India 466-6 (Pujara 176, Saha 76)
Early misbehaviour from a Hazlewood delivery here, as one grubbers through under Saha’s bat through to Wade. Saha is a study in forward defence afterward though. There’s something about diminutive batsmen looking especially balanced, and that’s Saha’s lot here. Hazlewood is searching for some reverse, but anything he gains is negligible. Clamour in the TV comm box about Australia’s lack of bowling variety. I’ll address that next over, but for now enjoy this.
171st over: India 466-6 (Pujara 176, Saha 76)
Australia’s evolution to defence continues. O’Keefe is over the wicket, spearing into the pads. India take him on anyway, as Saha dances and tries to loft him over midwicket. He scuffs it (think his bat scraped the ground) and it trickles to deep midwicket. He goes again, trying to hit O’Keefe over long on this time, succeeding only in gaining a leading edge and just clearing mid off. Warner chases it down and gets it in. Was hard not to notice his spikes piercing the covers though – a big no, no in amateur cricket. This is not a diplomatic incident though.
170th over: India 460-6 (Pujara 175, Saha 71)
Seriously, where do you bowl? I’ve no doubt Australia have plans, and Hazlewood (who now replaces Cummins) is relentlessly probing, but you know that feeling when the opposition’s bat looks really big? That’s what’s happening now. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re on the verge of full India control mode. Unless Australia can strike, we’ll soon see men out and the waiting game. Hazlewood strikes Saha on the thigh pad late in the over and appeals vociferously, but it was probably going thirty centimetres over sixth stump.
169th over: India 457-6 (Pujara 174, Saha 71)
O’Keefe is flatter this over, and he’s well and truly milked. No really sure what that means, but there’s a run to deep cover from Saha, and one through midwicket for Pujara. Looking fairly easy for India now.
168th over: India 455-6 (Pujara 173, Saha 70)
Cummins is retained, and you can see why. He manages to hurry up both batsmen from an angle you could describe as very wide of the crease. The short stuff seems to trouble them more than any other trajectory, but even so, the ball floats through to Wade. Again, consecutive singles are exchanged, and the rest is spent in meditative defence. I wonder when the bowling will enter the novelty phase: Renshaw, Wade, Warner. Who would you like to see? Too soon?
167th over: India 453-6 (Pujara 172, Saha 69)
And it’s O’Keefe to rifle through an over. He’s flighting them outside off-stump and both Pujara and Saha are circumspect after the former scampers through for one mid-way through the over.
166th over: India 452-6 (Pujara 171, Saha 69)
Cummins adjusts his length to something a little shorter here, but he can’t prevent another pair of runs to Saha and Pujara, who don’t look particularly bothered by much on offer. It says something about both the the wicket (not a bad thing! I promise!) and the skill of both batsmen that Cummins’ 140+ efforts are being handled fairly easily. He’s gone all out here has Cummins, but I think we’ll see spin soon. India now lead by one.
165th over: India 450-6 (Pujara 170, Saha 68)
Conversation here about the use, or lack thereof, of Glenn Maxwell. Hard to escape the idea that this is the scenario Australia feared heading into the series. Everybody appears to agree that Maxwell should have bowled more. I think it’s been fractionally forgotten that his bowling has regressed fairly significantly in the last little while, and I think Smith knows that. Meanwhile, it’s a quieter over from Hazlewood. Smith removes a slip and goes to a one-and-a-half position, and both players find a run each behind the wicket. India trail by one.
164th over: India 448-6 (Pujara 169, Saha 67)
Three overs. Three boundaries. Saha in on the act now – India definitely gleaning advantage from the third new ball. He presents the fullest of faces to a Cummins thunderbolt, giving us a gorgeous off drive to start the over. Cummins then reverts to his favourite length and – in the words of former Australian captain Michael Clarke – “gives him a real sniff. He loves it”. Something really grim about that term, “sniff”. Whatever the case, That’s the length that works for Cummins, and he beats Saha again through there. India finish the over trailing by only three runs though, and will fancy themselves to kick on from here.
163rd over: India 444-6 (Pujara 169, Saha 63)
Smith goes with Hazlewood from the other end – understandable given the colour, shape and hardness of this new ball. He’s gives Hazlewood two slips and a standard ring field. That’s about as attacking as it gets for a visiting quick in India, I would have thought. He errs slightly late in the over and Pujara sumptuously works him through mid wicket for four. It’s the shot of a man in imperious touch. Hazlewood then overpitches again but Pujara can’t beat cover. A profitable start for the hosts here.
162nd over: India 440-6 (Pujara 165, Saha 63)
So Australia will recommence with Pat Cummins. He holds aloft a new ball, and elicits some away-shape immediately. A quick single starts proceedings, before Saha leans on a square drive that pierces point and cover for four. It was that classic boundary that comes from the new ball – it came onto the bat beautifully and Saha just used the pace. There’s a bit of a post-session feel to this – will India now streak away? I might be getting ahead of myself. Cummins shortens his length in his remaining deliveries. Saha is feeling for it outside his body, but it all feels a bit benign. Cummins finishes with one that screams past Saha’s outside edge. That was encouraging.
Afternoon, evening, and – where I am – morning all. I write to you from an eerily empty Guardian HQ, where I’m viewing this match from a high powered computer that won’t yet grant me full access to the blog. But like India at the moment, I will plough on.
Did we just witness the wresting of the series back in India’s favour? Some resolute batting followed by desperate reviews appears to have tipped the scales back in the home side’s favour. Pujara may well be mid-Magnum Opus. He’ll no doubt have his eye on batting for another session if his foil, Wriddhiman Saha, can stay with him. For now, that doesn’t seem to be a problem.
There were a few signs that the pitch may be breaking open, yet worryingly little signs (for Australia) that India might soon succumb. I foresee a home side grabbing further control of this match, followed by a searching examination of Australia’s batting towards the day’s close.
The first session of the fourth day in Perth when Australia played South Africa last November was clutch. They had four wickets to get and needed them before lunch to have a chance. The equation was the same this morning. For any realistic chance, this session had to be one for the visitors. But just as it was in Perth, instead it went wicketless.
These 31 overs delivered only 75 runs, but that mattered little for the hosts. The stand between Pujara and Saha now stands at 107, both reaching milestones along the way – the former’s 150, the latter’s half century. Pujara’s hand has now lasted 434 balls. Incredible.
161st over: India 435-6 (Pujara 164, Saha 59). They elected to wait for the third new ball. After the failed review, Smith took a long time to get back to his spot, having a chat with the bowler. In other words: doing everything he could ensure it would be just one over. He’s successful. That’s lunch. I’ll gather my thoughts. Back in a tic.
NOT OUT! He’s nowhere near it. Worse still: first over of the fresh reviews too, so they’ve doubly blown that one. Can understand them taking the punt to an extent, but it will make their lunch that much worse.
REVIEW! Wade has gloved Saha off Lyon. Given not out. No one is that excited. We’ll see?
160th over: India 431-6 (Pujara 163, Saha 56). Final over before the third new ball, with eight overs to the lunch break. Three of the easiest singles you’ll see are found into the deep. Harsha says India are safe. With 14 wickets in hand across five sessions, with Australia having to bat for a fair while of that too, I think he’s right.
Won’t be easy for Australia to set a target given they will need time to score the necessary runs. With every half hour, India look safer
159th over: India 428-6 (Pujara 162, Saha 54). A single each from the legside early in the over brings up the 100 stand between the pair. Considering where this voyage began when Ashwin was dismissed not long after Nair, it has been vital with the bowlers to come who haven’t shown any resistance this series so far. This was the series that Australia expected back in Dubai. Hard, attritional, painful. How will they respond? They have 23 runs of lead left to play with.
158th over: India 426-6 (Pujara 161, Saha 53). Sokka punches through a quick maiden so I’m going to punch out a quick post. I promise, it was uneventful. Two overs to the third new ball. The worst three words in the cricket language I reckon: third new ball.
157th over: India 426-6 (Pujara 161, Saha 53). Lyon persists round the wicket. Pujara takes a quick single to begin, reinforcing the control he has over the Australian spin. Saha takes another to the other side of the vast outfield here. Pujara defends the rest. Of course he does.
Jeffrey Earp with some high-quality OBO chat here on the email. “Never Mind the Scoreboard – Here’s the Initials Count,” announces his email.
156th over: India 424-6 (Pujara 160, Saha 52). DROPPED! It’s a nightmare for Australia now. Saha has edged O’Keefe and Wade’s gloves haven’t closed at the right time, the small deviation beating him. Composed singles for both to finish the over. Wade knows, too.
And now a chance goes down behind the stumps off O’Keefe’s bowling. Not a great session for the Aussies… #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/n23M5BKRfI
155th over: India 421-6 (Pujara 158, Saha 51). How deflating for Smith and Lyon and everyone involved. The second time today they have felt that release of a lbw decision going their way only for it to be overturned. For the briefest moment they would have thought “great, now he’s gone, we can race through the bowlers and get this finished.” Now? Who knows how long this lasts. Lyon’s over concludes with a single to Pujara to midwicket, once again retaining the strike. Pujara now has 1000 Test runs against Australia.
NOT OUT! Missing by a long way. Turned big. Umpire Gould has had his decision overturned. Pujara remains.
PUJARA GIVEN LBW TO LYON! Is it missing though? He’s gone upstairs. We’ll find out shortly…
154th over: India 419-6 (Pujara 157, Saha 50). Saha’s turn to give the bat a bit of a wave after grabbing one to mid-off, reaching his half-century from exactly 100 balls. Evenly paced, controlled, vital. Further to my shared tweet from the previous over, what exactly does Maxwell have to do to get on? Or Smith himself for that matter? Smith has to try a few things here.
153rd over: India 417-6 (Pujara 156, Saha 49). Down the pitch with some fancy footwork goes Saha, and long over the rope for six! Ends up more or less over cow corner with a full swing of the bat. Australia’s dreams of putting on the pads before the lunch break are completely shot. With half an hour till the interval they would be happy now with a solitary breakthrough. Or just Pujara, even. When he gets his go it is business as usual before retaining the strike out to the cover region. Fair bit of hate for Wade on social media for the quarter (tenth?) chance in the previous Lyon over. Tough crowd. But that’s the way it goes when you have the gloves on. Or am I being too kind?
152nd over: India 409-6 (Pujara 155, Saha 42). Ravi Shastri on the ABC radio call says that Virat Kohli will field when India head out there at some stage later today. Meanwhile, Sok keeps on at it. Pujara defends until he has the space to whip, two through midwicket. Such a familiar pattern. Great comeback ball from O’Keefe, who beats the bat. First time that’s happened today, I reckon.
151st over: India 407-6 (Pujara 153, Saha 42). Lyon is giving it a rip, but the Indian pair are handling him without much trouble here. Both men use their feet to get down the track and take singles down the ground to begin the over. Pujara has another through the onside. The way they are going, the first innings lead will be just about secured by the lunch break.
The all-rounders picked at six this series (M.Marsh, Maxwell) have bowled just 7 out of a total 392.3 overs. #IndvAus
150th over: India 404-6 (Pujara 151, Saha 41). Cummins burst has concluded, O’Keefe swung around to the northern end. The spinner is making him answer a question each ball, landing where he needs to. But Pujara continues to be up for the challenge. Then an edge! To end the over. It goes low; Wade has no chance. He’s saved runs flinging the pad out in the end. Deeply frustrating for Smith and co all the same.
149th over: India 403-6 (Pujara 150, Saha 41). Saha bunts a single off Lyon to give Pujara the strike on 149. It takes till the final delivery, but he’s pushing behind point for the milestone, 150 runs in 391 balls. Both numbers significant, sapping the energy from this Australian attack. An innings that required him to consolidate with partner after partner. His concentration is immense.
First day of the Bangalore Test must seem a long time ago for Nathan Lyon. 0-188 since then
148th over: India 401-6 (Pujara 149, Saha 40). Cummins is back over the wicket after trying to shake things up from the other side in the previous over. The short ball still comes though, Pujara wanting none of it. Nor later in the over when he tries it on again. When full and straight, the Indian no. 3 is pushing out to deep midwicket, the single bringing up the 400. A mighty effort from Pujara, nearing 400 balls faced himself, one run from another personal milestone too. Saha less convincing when Cummins aims a bouncer at his throat, just getting the ball down. Leaning at the last ball, the outside half of his bat makes contact and it skips down to third man for one. A bit streaky, but they’re now only 50 behind.
147th over: India 399-6 (Pujara 148, Saha 39). Lyon v Saha. He turns the third ball past the man at 45 for one. Pujara takes a single at the first time of asking, knocked into midwicket. A biiiig Nathan Lyon shout, down on the knee pleading. He really has the best appeal in the business at the moment. Shame it is missing leg-stump. He has had some success getting decisions from around the wicket to right-handers like that over the journey, so I get the enthusiasm.
Cummins for his second spell this morning feels a little last chancey for Australia. @CricProf has them at a 2.6% on win predictor.
146th over: India 397-6 (Pujara 147, Saha 38). Cummins straight back after two overs from Hazlewood. Didn’t expect that. But he is, after all, a young strapping lad. He is round the wicket, continuing with the approach Hazlewood deployed before the drinks break. Pujara ducks then sways. So he has used up his two bouncers right away. Oh, maybe not? Another comes later. He defends between times. Nothing doing here. Maiden.
A counterview on the VVS situation from Nimesh Nambiar. “VVS Said (in reference to maxi’s silly antic) ‘Especially after what happened to Phil Hughes, everyone is concerned when someone gets injured.’ I understand it as you don’t make fun of the injured after such horrific tragedy. He uses Hughes’ accidental demise as a tragic benchmark to say where we should draw the lines when it comes to on-field antics. I can’t seem to find a shred of disrespect to the late Hughes in this totally innocuous comment.”
145th over: India 397-6 (Pujara 147, Saha 38). Lyon is on, getting one in before the drinks break is due. A decent amount of spin to begin in at Saha, who uses it to collect two into the on-side. Another comes through midwicket, but the Aussie offie looks in the game. Pujara retains the strike with one of his own to end the set. They drink, the hosts 54 behind. Eight hours Pujara has now batted for.
This is the first Test in India where No. 3 batsman from either side has faced 300+ deliveries – Smith & Pujara. #IndvAus
144th over: India 393-6 (Pujara 146, Saha 35). Hazlewood had a little word to Saha after finishing his previous over. That battle continues to begin this over. But only briefly, another taken behind point, the Indians scoring zone of preference this morning. A compact cover drive from Pujara ticks the board over for a further couple. Back to back bumpers come in response. He ducks both, the second coming after a tweak to the field to add an extra catcher on the leg-side. Another shorter one finishes the over. Hazlewood desperate to change the thread of this session before it gets out of hand.
Pete Miller is back to be in response. “I have found the amount of humble pie that has been gobbled up by Australians that got this pitch completely wrong brilliantly entertaining. Schadenfreude is a beautiful ugly thing.” Reasonable. But I challenge anyone to have arrived here two days out and not asked a few questions. It looked horrid and the players agreed. Yet here we are.
143rd over: India 390-6 (Pujara 144, Saha 34). Another chapter in the O’Keefe v Pujara test of willspower. Five of six times he’s required to use his bat, and does so with comfort. Maiden. Where’s Lyon, though?
142nd over: India 390-6 (Pujara 144, Saha 34). Hazlewood to Pujara. Again he is able to score on the off-side past point. In complete control. Saha clips a couple more through midwicket. A first innings lead looking more likely by the over for the hosts. Hazlewood goes upstairs to try and provoke something ill-considered from Saha, akin to the false stroke from Pujara last time around, but he doesn’t succeed.
Chief cricket writer at The Oz, Peter Lalor, has joined the ABC radio commentary and is off the long run on the VVS Laxman comments from yesterday. He’s not happy. “I’m sorry VVS, you don’t drag Phillip Hughes’ name into something trivial about this,” Lalor said. “Some of them out there were with him when he took his last breath.” A bit of perspective there on why the Australians were so dismayed.
141st over: India 387-6 (Pujara 143, Saha 32). Long time since we’ve seen Nath Lyon. Just thought that’s worth noting, as O’Keefe begins a new over. Saha looks at ease driving early in the over, albeit to fielders in the off-side ring. He then beats mid-off for one. Pujara responds by tucking one into midwicket. SOK finds his range with the last ball though, biting and bouncing into Saha’s splice after finally moving round the wicket. But no man catching in there now.
140th over: India 385-6 (Pujara 142, Saha 31). The lights are on at the JSCA Stadium. Didn’t expect that before opening the curtains this morning. The haze remains, it’s very dark. Oh, that reminds me – did everyone see the iPhone/light reader malarkey at Wellington the other day? It’s very, very good. Have a look. Back to Hazlewood, Pujara again scores to third man. A couple this time, square of the sweeper out there. Plenty of runs in that direction this morning, both batsmen happy to open the face at will. Back on the front foot, he defends comfortably. So Hazlewood fulfils his obligation to follow with a bouncer. It works, encouraging the hook with no contact. Had he hit it, it could have gone anywhere; didn’t look in control. A small victory to the bowler, but no damage done.
139th over: India 383-6 (Pujara 140, Saha 31). Pujara kicks O’Keefe. Until he gets some room, then he turns him into the deep. Easy batting. Saha is a proppy when one slides back towards him, but when he gets the same delivery later in the over it is short enough to take out to midwicket for a couple. A penny for Steve Smith’s thoughts, and all that.
This has been the first time this tour when O’Keefe has struggled with lengths. He’s bowled some too full, but a lot too short.
138th over: India 380-6 (Pujara 139, Saha 29). Right, so it’s only a three over stint for Cummins. Understandable given how much work he’ll need to do if they are to win this Test. Hazlewood replaces him and does what he does. He won Saha’s inside edge when bringing the first ball back, but he’s more solid in defence thereafter. The batsmen trade singles behind point to end the over. Good cricket from them, closing in on the Australian total slowly but consistently.
137th over: India 378-6 (Pujara 138, Saha 28). Sok to Saha. He gets back and turns to fine leg early in the over for one. That’s the 50 stand between these two. Excellent batting at a vital time. Came together after losing a couple of relatively quick wickets, and Saha has proved the perfect support to Pujara. The latter is defending and kicking, returning to the groove of yesterday’s afternoon session.
Gentle man Petey Miller (don’t let his twitter account deceive you) has corresponded with me via email. This might be a first for us. Given how quiet it is on the twitter, I’m grateful for it.
136th over: India 377-6 (Pujara 138, Saha 27). Cummins continues from the northern or pavilion end. He sprays the first ball, a bouncer, high and wide over Pujara’s shoulder. Probably should have been signalled a wide, but isn’t. A carve behind point gets him one. Saha repeats that stroke later int he later. The board is ticking over, both batsmen look relatively set and Cummins is now three overs into what could only be a maximum four or five over spell. Australia may be turning to Plan B rather soon. It’s quiet and they need it to be loud.
135th over: India 375-6 (Pujara 137, Saha 26). Short, wide, four. Pujara may be very content in defence, but doesn’t miss out when O’Keefe gives him free runs. A rare bad ball from the left-armer, who has bowled with considerable discipline. He then cuts for one to get down the other end. Saha defends out the over.
134th over: India 370-6 (Pujara 132, Saha 26). Is that a dropped catch? Cummins thinks so, off the inside edge, beating Saha after chopping him in half. The replay says it fell short and maybe didn’t hit the edge. In any case, he’s dangerous again. Later in the over he was tickled to fine leg, giving Pujara one Cummins delivery to look at. He steers it with class to third man. No concerns whatsoever for him, now into his third day at the crease.
Pujara vs Cummins
50 balls, 35 runs, 5 boundaries, 36 dots #INDvAUS
133rd over: India 368-6 (Pujara 131, Saha 25). The Sok v Che contest continues. Was boring yet riveting stuff late on day three. Sure enough, it is a maiden here as the two feel each other out. Full and flighted the early plan from the spinner.
I have an explanation for the below. Once it becomes apparent that you’re dining with IPL journeyman Dirk Nannes, it’s selfies by extension. Or maybe the deeply suspect tour beard.
Adam Collins wasn’t to be left behind either.Did it have to do with that great hairstyle?@collinsadam @abcgrandstand pic.twitter.com/gkFxMoBFrC
132nd over: India 368-6 (Pujara 131, Saha 25). So close to a fifth wicket, Cummins next ball to Saha, after being so close to having him, is driven through the covers for four. That’ll frustrate ya. A bouncer follows. Out the way he gets. The over ends with a couple more for Saha, who started the set the worst possible way and ends it six runs for the better.
An early email in from Nuggehalli Nigam. Thank you for it. “Can we take a moment to acknowledge, amidst the blame, counter blame, sledging and (alleged) cheating, the contribution that these two teams have made to test cricket? The delicate desperate brilliance of Cummins and the Buddha like patience of Che have shown why test cricket can’t be bested. Two teams battling each other in a test of skill and character that will, even if not apparent now, only serve to elevate both the teams.”
NOT OUT! Missing down the leg-side. The decision will be overturned by TV Umpire Llong and Saha survives. Blimey. What a start from Cummins; fast and full. But he’ll have to go again.
CUMMINS HAS SAHA FIRST BALL LBW! But he is reviewing! STAND BY!
131st over: India 362-6 (Pujara 131, Saha 19). Nearly a run out first ball of the day! O’Keefe is operating from the southern end, barely visible through the deep haze. Maybe that influences the batsmen, who decide to set off on a quick single to mid-off. Warner takes a ping, but misses. He was just safe in any case, so fair play to him. After a hurried over, they consider going again to finish the over. Sketchy start.
I realised last night that I’m going to boarding a nine hour night bus from Delhi to Dharamsala for the final Test. Not quite the same mode of transport, but this has been in my head ever since. Let it be our pre-play song as we wait for the players.
Pat Cummins has had a chat.
To the ABC, before play. The guts of it:
Good morning and welcome to Guardian Australia’s live over-by-over coverage from Ranchi on day four of the third Border-Gavaskar Test. It’s Adam Collins here, coming to you from the Southern End of the JSCA Stadium, ready to take you through the first couple of hours. And I can’t bloody wait.
Looking out, it is very hazy with the sun a long way from burning through. No suggestion of rain; it doesn’t do that here. Once we kick off, Australia will need to make their move. We have six sessions to go in this Test and to convert their first innings of 451 into victory, a first innings lead is essential. Anything less will sting. Thankfully the tourists have Pat Cummins. What a guy.
Adam will be with you shortly. In the meantime, recap all of yesterday’s extraordinary action in Ranchi.
Related: Pujara century defies Cummins and Australia on third day in Ranchi