Cheteshwar Pujara's epic innings against Australia tilts test in India's favour

Pat Cummins is congratulated by his teammates after claiming the scalp of India's captain Virat Kohli on day three of the third Test in Ranchi.

After India declared their first innings on 603 for nine, Ravindra Jadeja bowled David Warner and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon cheaply in successive overs to reduce Australia to 23-2. Cheteshwar Pujara in particular showed why they are a risk only if you push, heavy handed, away from your body where you don't have to - he never did, and he was untroubled; Wriddhiman Saha occasionally did, and had narrow escapes. Jadeja had pitched the ball in the rough and it did take a sharp turn.

"If anything, it heightens our first innings where we needed to bat a little bit longer".

"I am very confident our spinners (Ravichandran Ashwin and Jadeja) will bowl really well".

Earlier, Ravindra Jadeja performed with the bat during the first innings when he scored 54 runs off just 55 balls.

Pujara, who batted for more than 11 hours, joined Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman as the only Indians to have hit two double centuries against Australia.

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Should he pull through, he can not be considered an automatic selection for the fourth Test, starting on Saturday, due to his long injury history. "I think it will be just similar sort of thing with Richie making sure that cricket is the victor this week", Smith said. The partnership is now worth 25 runs but the Aussies need these two to convert it into a big one. Even when I defended, I did it in a positive sense and when I played my shots, that was also in a positive sense.

Steve O'Keefe, Australia's left-arm spinner, was accurate and a workhorse bowling an astounding 77 overs - the second-most overs ever bowled in an innings in India.

Pujara and Saha are two of the most underrated players in Test cricket, the former a serenely compact first drop, the latter a slick gloveman and plucky batsman.

With Josh Hazlewood (1-66) operating, India were struggling to find runs in the final session and the pressure eventually got the better of Nair, who was castled by the 26-year-old.

Whereas previously Cummins has been rushed back into a Test preparation, this time he has been playing since October, gradually building his overs through different formats of the game at grade, state and global level.

Meanwhile, Saha and Australia coach Darren Lehmann both praised Pujara's patience at the crease.

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