20 Mar 2017

India in charge against Australia

6:44 am on 20 March 2017

The Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has compiled an epic double century to put India in a strong position on the fourth day of the third cricket in Ranchi.

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara.

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara. Photo: Photsport

Pujara became the first Indian batsman to face 500 deliveries in a test innings, spending more than 11 hours at the crease for his marathon 202 on the penultimate day of the contest.

Resuming the day with India 91 runs behind Australia's first innings total of 451, Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha frustrated the tourists and batted through the first two sessions to forge a 199-run seventh wicket partnership, with Saha making 118.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja then brightened India's victory prospects dismissing David Warner and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon cheaply to reduce Australia to 23-2.

At stumps Australia were still 129 runs behind and under considerable pressure to save the match.

"Obviously we've got to save the game," Australia coach Darren Lehmann said.

"Once the ball gets a little bit softer it plays pretty well, so there's no real demons in the track.

"It's a case of obviously applying ourselves much like Pujara and Saha did today," he added.

Pujara faced 525 balls in his tireless knock, capitalising on the exceptionally fast outfield to score 21 boundaries.

India skipper Virat Kohli said "I am very confident our spinners will bowl really well. There is rough, there are cracks..."

The four-test series is tied 1-1 with Dharamsala hosting the final match from Saturday.