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India vs Australia | Innings Report: Pujara, Rahane Half-centuries Help India Set a Target of 323 for Hosts

Cricketnext Staff | Updated: December 9, 2018, 12:37 PM IST
India vs Australia | Innings Report: Pujara, Rahane Half-centuries Help India Set a Target of 323 for Hosts

India's Ajinkya Rahane gestures after scoring a half-century. (AP Photo/James Elsby)

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Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane slammed valuable half-centuries as India set Australia a target of 323 on day four of the first Test at Adelaide.

India began with a slender 15-run first innings lead before the openers got going, putting on a 63-run opening stand. Rahul came out aggressively, smashing 44 off 67 balls with three boundaries and a six.

Vijay gave valuable support but was dismissed for 18. Captain Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara showed great patience to keep the Australian bowlers at bay and slowly pile on the runs. Kohli made a grinding 34 before falling to Nathan Lyon, who was the pick of the bowlers for hosts, ending with figures of 6/122.

Play started 30 minutes early to make up for rain disruptions on Saturday, with Australia desperate for an early breakthrough but Rahane and Pujara tackled the Australian attack well, scoring quickly to extend India's lead.

Pujara brought up his 20th half-century with a three off Lyon and hardly looked troubled until he was snared by Lyon half an hour before lunch. At the other end, vice-captain Rahane was also solid, surviving a review for a bat-pad catch off Lyon. He made the most of the reprieve by smacking the next ball for four and brought up his 16th half-century with another boundary.

Rohit Sharma was the only failure with the bat, out for one with Peter Handscomb taking a good catch at silly point, again off Lyon. Rishabh Pant came out all guns blazing and targetted Lyon, hitting him for 18 runs in one over with three boundaries and a six right after lunch to give the Indian innings momentum.

The wily spinner though had the last laugh, dismissing Pant for a quickfire 28 off 16. Rahane became Lyon's next victim as he looked to up the ante, dismissed for 70.

The Indian lower-order folded up quickly, with Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma being dismissed for a duck. Starc ending with figures of 3/40 and helping clean up the tail.

It leaves Australia with a mountain to climb for an unlikely win. The biggest successful fourth innings Test run chase at Adelaide in modern times was 239 in 1982, when the West Indies managed the feat. The other chase of 300 plus was achieved in 1902 though Western Australia got past 313 to beat South Australia in the Sheffield Shield last month on this ground with Shaun Marsh -- who is playing in the Test -- scoring 163 not out.
First Published: December 9, 2018, 9:26 AM IST
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