They say that the result of a Test match can change in just a single session of play. Well, the Indians dominated all the three sessions of the fourth day of the third Test match. The hosts were trailing Australia by 91 runs at the beginning of the Day 4 and it seemed as though they’ll be able to lead Australia by hardly few runs at the end of their innings. However, the scenario turned out to be totally different.
The Indian batsman did not play aggressive strokes but quelled the Aussies by playing the game with patience. The duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha added one run short of 200 in their partnership for the seventh wicket.
Pujara played the longest innings of his career and he lasted 525 balls and spent well over 11 hours at the crease in India’s reply to Australia’s 451.
After the duo departed, Ravindra Jadeja stepped up and scored a brilliant 50 and eventually, India declared at 603/9 after garnering a lead of 152 runs. In reply, Australia ended on 23 at the loss of 2 wickets and the Indians smell triumph on the last day of the fascinating Test match.
Here are the 5 talking points of the fourth day of the third Test match against the Aussies:
#5. Pujara – The most patient Indian player
Cheteshwar Pujara is renowned for his ability to play calm and composed knock in a Test match. The No.3 batsman who is technically sound, has been instrumental in this season's Test matches on home soil.
The right-hander missed out on hundreds unluckily against Bangladesh last month and also against Australia in the second Test at Bengaluru.
But he ensured that this double hundred compensates for all the centuries he has missed. In spite of the Aussie bowlers trying to sledge him, Pujara's concentration was undisturbed as he became the 'Indian player to face the most number of balls in a Test innings'.
He batted for a little over 11 hours and departed soon after scoring his double hundred in 521 deliveries. He was dismissed for 202 off 525 balls as he was caught by Glenn Maxwell off Nathon Lyon’s bowling in what turned out to be a soft dismissal. The right-hander's longest innings included 21 boundaries but not a single six.
#4. Wriddhiman Saha showcasing his abilities again
Wriddhiman Saha was a bench warmer for close to 5 years. With MS Dhoni donning the gloves for nearly a decade, Saha could not play regularly until the former Indian skipper retired from Test matches. Saha made his debut in 2010 but had played only 2 Test matches before cementing his place in the side as a regular.
He had to deal with a few challenges early on in his career and his maiden hundred came against Bangladesh last month when he scored an unbeaten 106 after hanging around with the Indian lower order. But on the fourth day of the third Test match, he scored yet another watchful century.
Saha frustrated the Aussie bowlers alongside double-centurion Pujara and took 214 deliveries before he reached the second hundred of his career. The gloveman's knock included 8 boundaries and 1 six.
Batting one below Ravi Ashwin, Saha is constantly proving that he is a reliable batsman in the Test circuit and that is exactly what he proved today in his slow, yet invaluable knock against the visitors.
#3. Nathon Lyon finally ends the wicket drought
Nathon Lyon is the most successful off-spinner in the Australia’s cricket history. He asserted the same after he picked up 8 wickets in the first innings of the second Test match at Bengaluru.
However, the Australian went wicket-less in the second innings of the Test match even after bowling 33 overs. In addition to this, Lyon was left embarrassed after he had failed to pick a single wicket in the Indian innings in the Ranchi Test match. He finally ended the drought after he took Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket in his 43rd over of the match.
This meant that Lyon managed to pick up a wicket after conceding 224 runs in 74.2 overs after the 8-fer he scalped in the first innings of the previous Test match. The off-spinner could not add anymore wicket and his figures at the end of the first innings read 46-2-163-1.
#2. Ravindra Jadeja notches up a fifty before striking twice with the ball
Ravindra Jadeja walked into bat after the Indian batting duo of Pujara and Saha had mentally dented the Aussie bowlers.
The left-hander took advantage of the situation and scored a much-needed fifty to take the lead to 152 runs. His unbeaten fifty included 5 fours, 2 sixes and not to forget, it included the infamous swordplay celebration right after he reached his fifty.
After India declared on 603/9, the left-arm spinner constantly troubled the Australian openers with his deliveries. With only a few overs left in the day, Jadeja sent Warner packing and scalped another one as he went past O’Keefe’s defence to hit the stumps in what turned out to be the last ball of the day.
Frenzied fans will now be expecting him to rip through the Aussie batting to force a result on the final day of the Test match.
#1. David Warner’s nightmare continues
David Warner was in decent form in the previous Test series against Pakistan but surprisingly, he has failed miserably in Tests against India. Ravindra Jadeja, who boasts a reputation of causing trouble to the left-handers specifically, dismissed Warner yet again in the match.
The southpaw defended the wrong line as the ball sneaked through his bat and pad to disturb the timber. Warner’s second innings’ scores in the series now read 10, 17 and 14. In addition to this, the Australian vice-captain is yet to score a fifty in the series.
In the six innings he has played, he has been dismissed 5 times by a spinner and this has exposed his weakness against the spin duo of Jadeja and Ashwin. The third Test is all poised for an intriguing finish on the last day as the Aussies are succumbing to the pressure the Indian spin duo is piling on them.