Pujara keeps India afloat on day of brilliant Aussie fielding

Silvia Morton
December 7, 2018

Adelaide:Cheteshwar Pujara struck a defiant century in an Adelaide Oval furnace to rescue India after Australia's pacemen threatened to dominate day one of the series-opening test on Thursday.

Usman Khawaja vindicated his punishing year-long fitness regime by snaring a remarkable one-handed catch to get rid of danger man Virat Kohli barely half an hour into the first Test.

Aussie pacers made ideal use of the new ball to get rid of KL Rahul, Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli inside the first 11 overs with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins striking once each.

Pujara faced 141 balls for a dogged 46 not out with his latest partner Ravi Ashwin unbeaten on five on a day characterised by poor shot selection.

Pujara's resolute stay helps India cross the 250-run mark, which will be a morale booster for their bowling unit when it's their turn to ply their trade with the Kookaburra.

Openers KL Rahul and Murali Vijay fell into a similar trap, while vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane's dismissal was among the worst, slashing at a wide Josh Hazlewood delivery.

The second day of the first Test between India and Australia will be played on December 7, 2018.

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"If you had told us at the start of the day that we would lose the toss and have them 9-250 at stumps, we would bite your arm off", Starc said.

Batting after Kohli won the toss, the visitors crumbled in a disastrous morning session under a pace barrage before digging in later in the day with Pujara and Ravi Ashwin (25 off 76 balls) staging a fightback as the bowlers exhausted.

Usman Khawaja took a superb catch to dismiss Virat Kohli.

It will take some grab to top Khawaja for the catch of the summer.

Vice-captain Rahane (13) was then enticed into a drive with Peter Handscomb taking the catch in the slips as India lost their fourth wicket before lunch.

Rohit Sharma, preferred in the final XI to all-rounder Hanuma Vihari, compiled a patient 31 before sweeping Lyon for six, narrowly missing being caught on the ropes.

Pujara anchored vital partnerships with young wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin before completing his century with a flick off his pads after scoring his 5,000th run in tests.

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