Cheteshwar Pujara's application on an Adelaide wicket boosts India's performance

Grant SmithDec 07, 2018

Cheteshwar Pujara scored a gritty 123 in punishing conditions to claw India back into the opening Test in Adelaide on Thursday after Australia seized early control as the top-order crumbled.

Pujara faced 141 balls for a dogged 46 not out with his latest partner Ravi Ashwin unbeaten on five on a day characterised by poor shot selection. For the Aussies, Pat Cummings, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood wreaked havoc with their pace while Nathan Lyon's spin claimed a few wickets as well. He was run out in the 88th over thanks to some spectacular work by Pat Cummins at mid-on.

This is the first of the four-match Test series between India and Australia. Instead of middling it, Kohli edged it towards the gully region and Khawaja jumped to his left and plucked the ball one-handed.

Pujara said he would now turn to coaching India's bowlers on the best methods for extracting the most from the Adelaide pitch.

KL Rahul, who has been struggling for runs, flopped again, caught by Aaron Finch at third slip off Hazlewood for two.

India suffered a huge blow ahead of the first Test with young opener Prithvi Shaw ruled out after suffering ankle ligament damage during their final warm-up game against a Cricket Australia XI.

Usman Khawaja took a superb catch to dismiss Virat Kohli.

Pujara's 16th test century saved India after a disastrous start that saw them slump to 86 for five after lunch, falling to a combination of terrible shot-making and quality Australian pace after captain Virat Kohli won the toss.

Vice-captain Rahane (13) was then enticed into a drive with Peter Handscomb taking the catch in the slips as India lost their fourth wicket before lunch. In the process he passed 5,000 Test runs for his 16th Test century, even as the wickets tumbled around him, including superstar captain Virat Kohli for three. They slid further when Rohit Sharma holed out attempting a slog off Lyon.

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