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Handscomb, Marsh carry Australia to safety

20 March, 2017, 21:54 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez

The skipper was full of praise for Cheteshwar Pujara who was handed the man of the match award for his vast double ton in India's first and only innings while he also gave kudos to wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha who is proving to be a valuable asset with the bat.

Kohli continued: " Guys want to push the barrier, their physical limits, their mental toughness.

He said: "Pat Cummins, in his first game in a very long time, he bowled beautifully".

Given absolutely no chance, with many predicting a 4-0 whitewash in India's favour, Australia won the Pune Test, before giving India a really hard match in Bengaluru and then pulling off a stunning draw in Ranchi.

However, the 27-year-old was sent back to pavilion early in the second innings as Indian tweaker Ravindra Jadeja (4/54) dismissed him for just 21 runs.

A bigger blow awaited Australia in the next over when Jadeja, who already has eight wickets in the match to go with an unbeaten fifty with the bat, spun one past Smith's advancing pad and uprooted the off-stump.

Smith, who on the eve of this match criticised Kohli's comments, made good on his decision to bat first with 117 of 299 for four.

Even if India fail to take a 2-1 lead in the series, they will claim a moral victory in forcing the visiting bowlers to toil for a staggering 210 overs.

The fourth and final Test starts in Dharamsala on March 25 with the series locked at 1-1.

Skipper Steve Smith will join Renshaw (7 not out) at the crease on day five and one expects that partnership will have to be a long one if Australia is to save itself. The boys really dug deep. O'Keefe bowled 77 overs in this innings, the second most for any bowler in India. "I am really proud", he said.

"Massive game in Dharamsala, can't wait to get there", he said.

Ishant Sharma was sacked up in the morning session and let the verbals fly a bit, but once Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh began their grind, things quietened down. I do get tempted to hit in the air, but you have to look at the bigger picture. "That's how I would explain it, no issue with that".

Following Vijay's departure, Pujara formed several small partnerships worth 32, 51, 46 and 8 with Indian skipper Virat Kohli, vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, middle order batsman Karun Nair and ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin respectively.

Often, once a side has been bowling for beyond 130 or 140 overs things swiftly go downhill - they lose their lengths, they lose their lines, they lose their patience. I do get exhausted but I have been working hard on my fitness, I focus on my diet.

"You get tired, but I have been working hard on my fitness, careful with my diet, and hoping to recover soon for the big Test coming up", concluded Pujara.

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