Cheteshwar Pujara’s meditative 193 was followed up by a post-Tea burst from Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja as India practically batted Australia out of the series on Day 2 of the fourth Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. After Pujara was dismissed on 193, Jadeja and Pant added 204 runs for the seventh wicket. In the process, Pant scored his second ton and became the first Indian wicketkeeper to score a Test century in Australia. India declared on 622/7 marking the first time in a decade that they have posted a total more than 500 runs in Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa.
Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari started on an overnight total of 303/4 on 130 and 39 respectively. The pair kept the Australians busy for the first 30 minutes of the day and their partnership crossed the 100-run mark before Vihari was dismissed by a rather controversial DRS decision.
He attempted to sweep a Nathan Lyon delivery and it looped off his bicep before landing in the hands of the short leg fielder. The umpire was pretty quick to lift the finger but Vihari asked for a review immediately thereafter. There was a tiny spike on hotspot and snicko and so the third umpire decided to stay with his on-field counterpart’s decision but commentators like Michael Clarke were of the opinion that the decision should have been reversed.
Rishabh Pant came in and simply continued where Vihari had left off. Pujara kept inching closer to this fourth Test double ton as the pair kept the scoreboard ticking. But it was not to be for the 30-year-old as Lyon accounted for his wicket too. Pujara was dropped by Khawaja on 192 but he wasn’t so lucky a second time as he hit the ball straight back into the bowler’s hands. His stay in the middle lasted 9 hours and eight minutes and he absorbed 373 deliveries. He walked off to a standing ovation from the SCG but Australia were yet to be freed from their misery.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) 4 January 2019
Pant was joined in the middle by Ravindra Jadeja and the pair ensured that Pujara’s was the last wicket to fall before Tea. In the third session, they then went about making an absolute mess of the Australian bowlers’ match figures. India started the session on 491 and by the time they declared, that total had inflated to 622 with 10 overs to spare in the day.
In the process, Pant reached his second Test ton in what was a relatively patient innings to what he has come to be known for. He also crossed Virat Kohli’s series tally of 282 and he had 350 to his name at the end of the innings. His final score of 159 was just 10 short of what AB de Villiers managed in November 2012 and that would have made it the highest score by a visiting wicketkeeper in Australia.
Jadeja also played like a man intent on staying put but once he reached close to his 40’s he decided to go temporarily berzerk. Pat Cummins bore the brunt of it and conceded four boundaries in an over, including three on the trot. Jadeja treated the SCG to his trademark sword dance celebration at the end of that rampage.
The pair kept piling the runs as the Australian fielders starting looking up at the balcony in hope of a declaration. It finally came when Jadeja was dismissed on 81 as he heaved at a delivery from Nathan Lyon and completely missed it. The ball went on to hit the stumps and Lyon had got his fourth wicket in the 57.2 overs that he bowled over the first two days of the Test. The Australian openers lasted the final 10 overs that were remaining and the hosts will start Day 3 on an overnight total of 24/0.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines