Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane Give Hosts Hope

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Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane set up an unbeaten 93-run partnership.

Chesteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane led India’s resistance against Australia in the hosts’ second innings during the 2nd Test in Bengaluru on Monday, as the Virat Kohli-led side took a crucial 126-run lead over the visitors at the end of the third day’s play.

After the dismissals of Abhinav Mukund, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja left India reeling at 120/4, Rahane and Pujara set up an unbeaten 93-run stand to give the hosts a fighting chance of winning the Test.

Pujara was unbeaten on 79 at stumps, while Rahane was 40 not out. Earlier, KL Rahul scored a gutsy 51 to give India a solid start.

Australia began the day from their overnight total of 237/6. The looked on course to set up a big lead, but lost their remaining four wickets for just seven runs to fold their innings at 276. Jadeja finished with six wickets from the innings, the best bowling figures by an Indian in the series.

Josh Hazlewood dismissed India opener Abhinav Mukund just after lunch, following a good start by the hosts. After Rahul’s dismissal from a Steve O’Keefe delivery, Virat Kohli was adjudged lbw under controversial circumstances, with Hazlewood claiming his wicket. Jadeja was dismissed soon after by Hazlewood.

However, just when another middle-order collapse loomed ahead of India, Rahane and Pujara showed immense maturity to steady the innings.

The duo kept the score ticking and didn’t succumb to pressure on a difficult batting track. Pujara completed his half-century after tea, with India dominating the final session of the day.

Pujara and Rahane’s unbeaten 93-run partnership is the highest of the ongoing series.

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