Pujara’s gritty hundred leads India’s fightback in Adelaide
Cheteshwar Pujara scored a gritty 123 in tough conditions to pull India back into the opening Test in Adelaide after Australia got an early edge with quick wickets at the start of day’s play.
The experienced Pujara faced 246 balls in his gutsy knock -- passing 5,000 Test runs for his 16th Test century -- as the wickets tumbled around him, including superstar captain Virat Kohli for three.
At the end of the day, Pujara set-off for a quick single on the second last ball but was removed by diving Pat Cummins in a brilliant run out.
Batting after Kohli won the toss, the visitors crumbled in a disastrous morning session under a pace barrage before digging in later in the day with Pujara and Ravi Ashwin (25 off 76 balls) staging a fightback as the bowlers tired.
In their first home Test since the infamous ball-tampering scandal in March, Australia took four wickets before lunch with the batsmen guilty of playing well away from their bodies and nicking off.
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Opener KL Rahul, who has been struggling for form of late, flopped again, caught by Aaron Finch at third slip off Hazlewood for two.
Veteran Murali Vijay, in the side after gun opener Prithvi Shaw suffered ankle ligament damage, didn't last much longer as well, caught behind by skipper Tim Paine off Starc for 11.
Next man in was Kohli, who marched in to a huge roar from the crowd, but Usman Khawaja at gully spectacularly caught him off a Cummins delivery as he attempted a drive away from his body, out after facing only 16 balls.
It was stunning one-handed take by Khawaja, whose preparations were upset by the shock arrest of his brother this week for allegedly framing a love-rival with a fake terror plot.
Vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane and Pujara worked hard to steady the ship.
But after returning from a break, Hazlewood lured Rahane into a drive and he edged to Handscomb in the slips for 13.
Rohit Sharma, preferred in the final XI to all-rounder Hanuma Vihari, accumulated a patient 31 before sweeping Lyon for six, narrowly missing being caught on the ropes.
Sharma then tried the same shot on the next ball, and this time debutant Marcus Harris comfortably collected a safe catch, with the right-hander once more failing to capitalise on a good start.
It was left to Pujara to stay at the crease and keep chipping away with runs, building a 41-run partnership with Rishabh Pant and then 62 with Ashwin before he was run out by Cummins.