Patient Pujara helps India to narrow deficit with Australia

Cricket - India v Australia - Cheteshwar Pujara

Top order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara compiled an industrious unbeaten century to keep India on course to match Australia’s first-innings total of 451 in the third test on Saturday.

Australia paceman Pat Cummins made a successful return to test cricket after five years in the wilderness, oozing hostility and claiming 4-59 on a placid track to help restrict the hosts to 360-6 on day three of the contest.

Pujara was batting on 130 at stumps, the first century by an Indian batsman in the four-test series, having spent nearly seven hours at the crease to consolidate his team’s position in the contest.

Wriddhiman Saha was giving him company on 18 with India still 91 runs behind.

Pujara is a steady accumulator of runs in an Indian line-up of mostly flamboyant stroke-makers and his solid defence stood him in great stead as his 11th test century underlined the virtue of playing along the turf, minimising risks.

The 29-year-old hit 17 boundaries in his composed knock, often threading the ball through gaps and letting the exceptionally fast outfield carry it across the rope.

Australia bowling coach David Saker said the contest was interestingly poised after a hard-fought day.

“It’s great test-match cricket,” Saker, who was England’s bowling coach from 2010 to 2015, told reporters.

“We really put them under a lot of pressure. They absorbed it, especially Pujara who played a fantastic innings.”

“We’re still ahead of the game but they are getting closer every over… we’ll be coming out pretty strong tomorrow.”

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