India on top again as Australia struggles to take wickets in SCG Test, Cheteshwar Pujara makes another ton
India’s Cheteshwar Pujara scored his third century of the series off 199 balls. (AP: Rick Rycroft)
Australia has endured another long day in the field, as India batted its way to 4-303 at the Sydney Cricket Ground after winning the toss for the third time this series.
The day began with a shake-up to Australia’s line-up. Mitchell Marsh and Aaron Finch were dropped for Peter Handscomb and Marnus Labuschagne.
As it so often has throughout the series, Australia’s day started with an early wicket, as opener KL Rahul (9) failed to take advantage of his recall and nicked Josh Hazlewood to first slip in the second over.
But then Mayank Agarwal (77) and the stubborn Cheteshwar Pujara (130 not out) settled into a partnership, weathering a prolonged barrage of short-pitched bowling from Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc.
They made it to lunch together and Agarwal brought up his second half-century in as many Tests before he holed out at long-on while trying to belt his third six off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.
It proved the only wicket of the session as Pujara formed another ominous pairing with India captain Virat Kohli (23), in front of 33,678 at the SCG.
Once again two of the world’s best batsmen looked immovable and Pujara passed 50 for the fourth time in the series before tea.
It was a different story after the break, when Kohli edged the fifth ball of the final session down the leg side and Tim Paine took the catch, giving Hazlewood (2-51) his second wicket of the day.
But the fall of wicket only saw another partnership develop, this time between Pujara and Hanuma Vihari (39 not out), with even the new ball failing to trouble them unduly.
The Australian bowlers, who have toiled so hard in this series, will have to regroup for another assault on this impressive Indian batting line-up on day two.
Look back at how day one unfolded in the live blog below.