Order should have batted better against Aussies: Cheteshwar Pujara

Heather Diaz
December 7, 2018

There was no chaotic collapse but also no batsman capable of scoring freely on a day when India delivered 31 maidens and Australia stroked 17 boundaries. Post tea, Pujara added 62 runs with R Ashwin (25) for the seventh wicket. "It's 30-odd degrees heat, the pitch will get better, the ball will get softer. all three players have got out in an identical fashion".

The India number three battled a hamstring strain late in the day but was a rock even as his partners crumbled around him, pushing India to 250 for nine at the close with a brutal assault on the second new ball.

Warne further questioned Marsh's dropping, saying the Australian attack will now lack an important element without an all-rounder, as well as an extra bowling option in sweltering conditions.

The senior off-spinner bowled an incisive spell that tied down the Australian batsmen. In the second, he had Shaun Marsh driving and dragging onto the stumps for 2 before piling on the pressure from his end. In between those two was Usman Khawaja's remarkable effort to remove Virat Kohli (see above) with a one-handed effort that is unlikely to be beaten all summer.

"We know most likely at some stage in this series we'll need him, so we're taking the opportunity at the moment to send him back to play a shield game and get more cricket under his belt, knowing at some stage we're probably going to need him". The left-hander had been tied down and was content eating up deliveries. Ashwin led the attack from the front, bowling unchanged through the session from one end.

India appealed, and then opted for DRS review with hotspot showing a faint tickle on Khawaja's glove as Australia were suddenly reduced to 87-4.

OUT! Jasprit Bumrah strikes after the tea break.

Travis Head holds key for Australia here.

"We should have batted better but they also bowled well in the first two sessions". The move yielded rich dividends in Pat Cummins' first over.

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Pujara finally broke his jinx in Australia when he clipped Starc to the midwicket fence to reach his milestone.

"It was a great catch and hopefully he's going to have a great couple of days with the bat as well", said the pacer.

"The way they bowled, they bowled in the right areas".

On their part, both Harris and Khawaja were content leaving as many deliveries as possible, and struck only four boundaries between them.

Harris believed the teams were "evenly matched".

The home side looked primed for a collapse but Pat Cummins and Head stood firm for Australia's first 50-run partnership.

In the first over after lunch, Marsh recklessly swiped Ashwin but miscued onto his stumps. Bumrah had Cummins shouldering arms to big incoming delivery and pegged Australia back, yet again.

Aaron Finch was bowled for a duck third ball by paceman Ishant Sharma and number four Shaun Marsh's awful run of form continued when he dragged spinner Ravichandran Ashwin onto his stumps for two after an excruciating 19-ball innings.

Fall of Wickets: 1/3, 2/15, 3/19, 4/41, 5/86, 6/127, 7/189, 8/210, 9/250.

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