Double each by Pujara and Ashwin spell disaster for Australia On an eventful day of fluctuating fortunes that saw eleven wickets fall by the...
Double each by Pujara and Ashwin spell disaster for Australia On an eventful day of fluctuating fortunes that saw eleven wickets fall by the wayside, India from a position of absolute strength, surrendered meekly in between, to eventually end the third day of the second Test against Australia on a noticeable high at Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here on Monday. After being bowled out for 503, despite a record 370 runs second-wicket stand between overnight batsmen, Murali Vijay (167) and Chateshwar Pujara (206), and gaining a first innings lead of 266 runs, they once again had the Australians caught in the vortex of spin. The visitors at 74 for two wickets still needing 192 runs to make bat the host again are staring at imminent disaster. With the ball taking turn, and barring any miracle, there is a strong indication that the spin trio may try to finish off the match by the tea session on Tuesday. India came back strongly, thanks to Ravichandran Ashwin who opened the bowling with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and struck two telling blows while clean bowling D A Warner for 26 and Phil J Hughes, who was out without scoring a run. At close, EJ M Cowan and S R Watson were on 26 and nine respectively. Interestingly of the 32 overs that India bowled in the second innings, barring six from Kumar, all the remaining overs were bowled by the spinners. Meanwhile, Australia appeared to be making match of it when they scalped nine Indian wickets in quick succession. They negated the positive impact of the fiery onslaught by overnight batsmen, Chateshwar Pujara (204, 341 balls, 30x4, 1x6) and Murali Vijay hit 167 (361 balls, 23x4, 2x6) by having the lower middle order perish in double-quick succession. Vijay was the first to go when he was caught at short fine leg. His fall brought the stadium into raptures when Sachin Tendulkar walked into the middle. However, the expectations of a crafty innings from the Master Blaster were short-lived because the maestro fell after making seven runs. Pujara went soon after his double century when he mistimed a hook of James Pattinson and Doherty brought off a smart diving catch at deep fine leg. Only skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (44) and Virat Kohli (34) chipped in with some useful runs. An indication of the pitch taking turn came when spinners Glenn Maxwell (4/127) and Xavier Doherty (3/131) took the lion's share of wickets. Earlier, Murali Vijay and Pujara surpassed the 344-run second wicket partnership by Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar against West Indies in Eden Gardens in 1978. During the course of his knock, Pujara, playing his 18th Test innings, became the second fastest Indian to complete 1000 Test runs behind Vinod Kambli, who took 14 innings. India is 1-0 up in the four-match Test series following their comprehensive eight-wicket win at Chennai. SCORECARD Australia 1st Innings: 237/9 declared. India 1st innings: (Overnight 311/1) Murali Vijay c Cowan b Maxwell 167, Virender Sehwag c Wade b Siddle 6, Cheteshwar Pujara c Doherty b Pattinson 204, S Tendulkar c Wade b Pattinson 7, V Kohli c Cowan b Maxwell 34, MS Dhoni c Doherty b Maxwell 44, R Jadeja c & b Maxwell 10, R Ashwin c Hughes b Doherty 1, Harbhajan Singh c Maxwell b Doherty 0, B Kumar st Wade b Doherty 10, I Sharma not out 2; Extras: (B-1, LB-13, WD-4) 18; Total: (all out in 154.1 overs) 503; Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-387, 3-393, 4-404, 5-460, 6-484, 7-485, 8-489, 9-491. Bowling: J Pattinson 29-11-80-2, P Siddle 31-6-92-1, M Henriques 21-7-45-0, X Doherty 46.1-15-131-3, G Maxwell 26-2-127-4, D Warner 1-0-14-0. Australia 2nd innings: E Cowan batting 26, D Warner b Ashwin 26, P Hughes b Ashwin 0, S Watson batting 9; Extras: (B-7, LB-6) 13; Total: (For 2 wickets in 32 overs) 74; Fall of wickets: 1-56, 2-56; Bowling: B Kumar 6-4-7-0, R Ashwin 15-6-42-2, Harbhajan Singh 8-5-10-0, R Jadeja 3-2-2-0.