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Despite Pujara’s heroics, Lyon’s 8/64 put Aus in sight of win

India were bowled out for 163 at the end of the day's play, and the hosts could reach this total, it was due to Cheteshwar Pujara's superb 59 runs knock.

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Indore: Despite Cheteshwar Pujara’s dogged heroics, Nathan Lyon’s 8/64 left Australia with a target of 76 runs to win the third Test on Day 2 of Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Holkar Cricket Stadium here on Thursday.

India were bowled out for 163 at the end of the day’s play, and the hosts could reach this total, it was due to Cheteshwar Pujara’s superb 59 runs knock.

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Pujara was a picture of concentration, and an emblem of defence and attack. He came out with an intent to score to first bury the deficit and then get vital runs for India, considering Australia batting the fourth innings. He might have given some chance for India, though it might not turn out to be a hyperbole tomorrow, given the nature of the track.

Pujara really did show the way for other batsmen how to bat on a pitch that was turning and bouncing. He held one end up even as wickets tumbled at the other end.

He reached his fifty off Kuhnemann driving on the full to long-on after coming down the track. The only blemish came when he was dropped by a diving Marnus Labuschagne at covers to his left off the same bowler batting on 50.
The moment of the day was an animated chat captain Rohit Sharma had with substitute Ishan Kishan between overs and urged him to convey the message to Pujara and Axar Patel who were letting some loose balls go scot free.

A couple of overs later, Pujara carted Lyon into the second tier which induced a broad grin from the Indian skipper. And ultimately, it needed a blinder of a catch from Smith to dismiss Pujara.

Steve Smith as captain was impressive as he marshalled his resources expertly by making right field placements and bowling changes. His moves paid dividends as India started their second innings 88 runs behind, but lost four wickets to Lyon’s wizardy.

There was a brief outrage by Shreyas Iyer who took the spinners apart, quickly racing to 26 off 27 balls. But before he could do further damage, Smith brought on pacer Mitchell Starc and had him caught beautifully at midwicket by Usman Khawaja.

Lyon then took over the mantle, and did what he could to pave the way for Australia by tirelessly bowling 24 of the 61 overs that Australia bowled. He was consistent with his lengths and getting the ball to dip considerably.
In the morning session, Umesh Yadav and Ravichandran Ashwin combined post-drinks to plot Australia’s collapse.

The duo picked the last six Australian wickets for 11 runs, triggering Australia’s collapse from 186/4 to 197 all out.

Umesh and Ashwin ended with figures of 3/12 and 3/44, respectively with Ravindra Jadeja ending with 4/78.

Ashwin triggered the procession by getting Handscomb caught at short-leg and breaking an indomitable stand. In the next over Umesh tr apped Green on the backfoot with a review going against the batsman.

Umesh then sent stumps flying off Todd Murphy (0) and Mitchell Starc (1), while Ashwin cleaned up Nathan Lyon (5) who missed a big hoick.

It did not look like India would manage to win a session in this Test, as overnight batsmen Cameron Green (21) and Peter Handscomb (19), put their foot down in the first hour of the morning session. Both stitched a vital 40 runs fifth wicket stand.

Indian openers, Rohit and Gill survived a dicey 15-minute period before lunch with their individual scores of 5 and 4, respectively. Still, India were not in complete command as they trailed by 75 runs with all their 10 wickets in hands.

In the second session, Lyon did the damage, starting by cleaning up Shubman Gill in the first over after the break. He then removed Rohit Sharma leg before as he tried a cross-batted smack on the leg side, with DRS option going against the Indian skipper.

Virat Kohli spent nervous times at the wicket as he had some close shaves, but he was out LBW while trying to pull a ball from Matthew Kuhnemann, just after he had slapped a short ball to cover boundary.

The wicket-falling drama continued minutes before Tea when Lyon ended Ravindra Jadeja’s dogged 36-ball stay getting him out LBW with the aid of a review.

At tea, India were 79/4 with Shreyas Iyer yet to open his account.
Brief Scores: India 109 (Virat Kohli 22; Matthew Kuhnemann 5-16, Nathan Lyon 3-35) and 163 all out (Cheteshwar Pujara 59; Nathan Lyon 8-64) lead Australia 197 (Usman Khawaja 60, Marnus Labuschagne 31; Ravindra Jadeja 4-63, R Ashwin 3-44, Umesh Yadav 3-12) by 75 runs.

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