Sydney– Brilliant batting efforts from Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant, along with a useful contribution from Ravindra Jadeja, helped India continue their domination on the second day of the fourth and final cricket Test as Australia trailed by 598 runs here on Friday.
In reply to India’s first innings score of 622/7 declared, Australia were at 24/0 with openers Usman Khawaja (5) and Marcus Harris (19) at the crease when the umpires dislodged the bails for the day.
India could have put the Australians under further pressure if wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant had grabbed a regulation catch of Khawaja off pacer Mohammad Shami.
The day belonged to Pujara and Pant, who dominated the Australian bowlers with their rather contrasting batting styles.
Pujara’s innings was an exibition of patience and impeccable technique. He was the top scorer for India with 193 runs off 373 deliveries with 22 hits to the fence.
The Saurashtra batsman was well on his way to what would have been his fourth double century in Test cricket when a somewhat tired shot enabled off-spinner Nathan Lyon to pull off an easy caught and bowled effort.
Pant, on the other hand, showcased his ability to produce the big hits during his unbeaten knock of 159. His 189-ball stay in the middle was studded with 15 boundaries and a six.
Resuming the second day at 303/4, Pujara and Hanuma Vihari (42) could only manage to add 26 to the total as Vihari was dismissed when scoreboard read 329.
Following Vihari’s dismissal, Pujara and Pant played sensibly throughout the first session and made sure that they don’t lose their wickets.
In the process, the duo played some beautifully-crafted shots.
For Australia, Lyon was the only wicket taker in the session.
The second session saw Pujara missing a double ton as India posted a healthy 491/6 at tea.
Pujara could only manage to add 12 runs to his individual score in the second session before he was caught and bowled by spinner Nathan Lyon.
Rishabh Pant (88) and Ravindra Jadeja (25) were at the crease when umpires called for the tea break.
Pujara was the only batsman to depart in the second session. He played 373 balls and slammed 22 boundaries.
The third session saw Pant and Jadeja dominating the opponents. the duo forged a record 204-run stand for the seventh wicket as India declared on 622/7.
In the process, Pant completed his maiden ton and then went on to cross the 150-run mark. Pant played 189 balls and remained unbeaten.
For Australia, Nasthan Lyon scalped four wickets while Jose Hazlewood picked up two wickets.
India (first innings): 622/7 declared (Cheteshwar Pujara 193, Rishabh Pant 159 not out; Nathon Lyon 4/178) vs Australia (first innings): 24/0 (Marcus Harris 19 batting, Usman Khawaja 5 batting) at stumps on Day 2. (IANS)