Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay hit centuries as India fight back against England
Home side finishes on 319-4 on the third day of the first cricket test in a strong counter-attack to England’s 537
Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay hit centuries as India mounted a steady counter-attack on the third day of a high-scoring first cricket test against England on Friday.
Top-ranked India finished the day on a strong 319-4 in Rajkot, supported by the duo’s performance.
Pujara made 124 off 206 balls before being dismissed by first-innings centurion Ben Stokes, but owes his ninth test century and third against England to the Decision Review System.
The right-handed batsman was ruled lbw on 86 but the TV umpire – which long-time sceptics India are using for the first time in a home series – overturned the decision after the ball-tracker showed Zafar Ansari’s delivery going over the top of the stumps.
Vijay hit 126 during a marathon eight-hour innings and shared 209 runs for the second wicket with Pujara.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli was 26 not out at stumps while nightwatchman Amit Mishra was dismissed for a duck off the last ball of the day.
The hosts trail by 218 runs with six wickets in hand in reply to England’s 537, their third biggest total on Indian soil thanks to centuries from Joe Root, Moeen Ali and Stokes.
“[The century] meant a lot, I just wanted to play to my potential, rather than think about the home crowd,” said Pujara.
“They bowled good lines, when the ball started reversing it was tough. I knew that if I stayed there I would get loose balls. Sometimes you have to respect the bowlers in international cricket.
“I’m expecting it to turn from day four and five. Hopefully we can get a lead and then you never know, we have a chance.”
After being stuck on 99 for 10 balls, Pujara reached the three-figure mark with a nervous single as his father and wife applauded from the stands.
Vijay raced to his seventh test century with two boundaries off Stuart Broad, who is playing his 100th test, and celebrated it by leaping into the air.
It was England’s turn to huff and puff in temperatures touching 35 degrees Celsius, and on a surface that had little to offer to the bowlers.
Paceman Chris Woakes impressed the most in the testing conditions, giving away just 39 runs off 23 overs.