India are in prime position to win the Ranchi Test at the end of day four. India declared their first innings at 603/9, with a lead of 152, before Ravindra Jadeja picked up two wickets in the eight overs Australia had to bat through prior to stumps, leaving the visitors reeling at 23/2. Australia trail India by 129 runs and have eight wickets in hand, with one day to go.
Cheteshwar Pujara was the star of India’s innings, scoring 202 off 525 balls, which completely deflated Australia. Wriddhiman Saha provided able support, scoring a ton himself (117), before Jadeja provided a late cameo with a quick half-century as India crossed 600.
India declared after taking a lead of 152 and gave Australia eight overs to bat. David Warner did not last more than 16 balls, while nightwatchman Nathan Lyon could only play out seven deliveries, as both were clean-bowled by Jadeja.
4.40 pm: Bowled him! The nightwatchman, Nathan Lyon is gone! Jadeja, bowling around the wicket, breaches Lyon’s defence and strikes timber again! Australia 23/2 and that’s stumps on day four.
4.30 pm: OUT! Australia 19/1. Warner is out cheaply again! Jadeja continues where he left off in the first innings. Gets one to nip back into Warner, beats his defence and hits timber. Just what India would have wanted before stumps. Nathan Lyon comes in as the nightwatchman, and survives a big appeal for lbw. Was going down leg. Oof!
4.25 pm: Australia 17/0. Jadeja gets Renshaw out almost on every delivery of his second over, but the southpaw just manages to survive. This is tense stuff!
4.20 pm: Australia 16/0. Jadeja has an event-less first over from the other end, before Ashwin comes back to bowl to Warner. Not one for sitting back, Warner continues to play shots and just about manages to clear mid-off with a miscued one. He then survives an lbw appeal the same over. Living dangerously, is Warner. India can sniff a wicket.
4.15 pm: Australia 8/0. David Warner looks to get bat on ball early and cuts Ashwin for two fours in the first over of Australia’s second innings. Game on!
4.10 pm: Here we go. Ashwin with the new ball.
4.05 pm: Australia have to negotiate eight overs from India today. Expect spin and a lot of chatter from a lot of close-in fielders. David Warner and Matt Renshaw, no pressure!
4 pm: India 603/9. Jadeja reaches his 50 and brings out his swordsman celebration. India declare. The lead is 152. A minimum of eight overs are left for Australia to bat. Expect a lot of close-in fielders.
3.55 pm: OUT! India 595/9. Umesh Yadav, looking for the big shot, hits O’Keefe straight to David Warner at mid-on. This was after the 50-partnership was up between Jadeja and Yadav. Both were going for their shots.
Ishant Sharma walks out to bat. India are posibbly holding off declaration because they believe Australia will take bad light if offered to them. India’s lead, now, is 144.
3.45 pm: India 578/8, lead by 127 runs. Australia appeal loudly for an lbw off Lyon’s bowling, Jadeja the batter, but the umpire says no. Australia have no reviews left. It looked like pad-bat. Jadeja rubs salt in Australia’s wounds by launching Lyon straight down the ground for six the next ball. Ball-tracking for the appeal later shows the wickets hitting but impact as umpire’s call.
3.30 pm: India 565/8, lead by 114 runs. Australia have now bowled over 200 overs. No signs of declaration still as the players take drinks. The message from the dressing room is for Jadeja to hit, and Umesh Yadav to defend and give him company. Some on social media don’t agree with the strategy:
3.15 pm: India 551/8 and the lead is now in three figures. India showing no signs of declaring, though.
3 pm: OUT! Saha follows Pujara back to the pavilion. Looks to smack O’Keefe over cover, but finds the fielder. Great innings of 117(233) comes to an end. India 541/8.
2.55 pm: Oh no, ChePu! He’s given a simple catch to short mid-wicket and Lyon his first wicket. Pujara is gone for 202 (525). Jadeja is the new batsman. Will we see some late fireworks? India 532/7.
2.45 pm: There it is! 200 for Pujara! His second double century against Australia. It’s come off 521 balls! India 521/6, lead by 70 runs.
2.35 pm: India 505/6, lead by 54 runs. We’re back after tea and Maxwell has finally been given the ball! Saha reaches his 100 off the very first ball with a single. It’s been a superb knock under pressure and he’s played the short-pitched bowling from Cummins beautifully.
2.10 pm: That’s tea on day four, and India have reached 503/6, with a lead of 52 runs. Pujara is unbeaten on 190 and Saha on 99!
2 pm: India 494/6, lead by 43 runs. Cheteshwar Pujara has now played the longest innings ever by an Indian batsman in terms of balls played. Previous longest was Dravid’s 270 (495) in Rawalpindi. Pujara has now played 497 and counting.
1.40 pm: India 480/6, lead by 29 runs. Australia have lost both their reviews again! A short one from Cummins hits Saha and lobs up to Smith in the slips for a catch. The umpire does not reckon it hit Saha’s bat or glove. Steve Smith takes a desperate review, and replays show the ball hit Saha’s right bicep. In Bengaluru, it was Dressing room Review System. In Ranchi, it is Desperate Review System for Smith.
1.30 pm: India 474/6, lead by 24 runs, and still no sign of Maxwell with the ball. As Sunny Gavaskar pointed out in the comm box, he must be injured after holding his shoulder following his dive on day three.
1.10 pm: India 471/6, lead by 20 runs. A big appeal for caught-behind off Pujara, but the umpire rightly does not give it out. There was definitely a sound, but replays showed it hit Pujara’s thigh pad. Pujara is now in the 180s.
12.55 pm: India 466/6, lead by 15 runs. Stat alert! This is now the best seventh-wicket partnership for India against Australia in Tests. Pujara and Saha have now put on 138 runs.
12.45 pm: India 455/6. Pujara continues to break records:
12.35 pm: After 165.3 overs, India are finally in the lead!
12.30 pm: India 450/6, trail by 1 run. Hazlewood beats Pujara’s bat, almost getting a nick, before the centurion flicks him through mid-wicket for four. In the next over, Saha creams Cummins through the covers for four. The message from the dressing room post lunch is clear. Cummins responds with a couple of peaches that whiz past Saha’s chin. Good contest this!
12.15 pm: India 440/6, trail by 11. We’re back after lunch, as Pat Cummins begins proceedings. He is back to bowling over the wicket after a sustained spell from around. Australia have not taken the third new ball available. Saha drives Cummins through the point region for four in the first over after lunch.
11.30 am: Yet another review goes begging for Australia as they decide to refer a caught-behind decision that was not given. Replays showed there was daylight between bat and ball. That’s lunch. India have reached 435/6, trail by 16. India scored 75 runs in the session without losing a wicket.
11.20 am: India 428/6. The 100-partnership is up between Pujara and Saha. It could have ended before the milestone, had Wade held on to this chance off his counterpart:
11.10 am: Another review goes India’s way! Lyon gets Pujara in front and the umpire gives it out lbw. India review and ball-tracking shows it missing leg again! Nothing going Australia’s way this morning. India 421/6.
11 am: India 419/6, trail by 32. What is going on?! Saha has just hit a six! He takes a couple of steps towards Lyon, bowling around the wicket, and whacks him over long on for maximum. The next over, Saha gets to his fifth Test half-century. Will India go for it in this last half hour before lunch?
10.50 am: The 400 is up for India and so is Pujara’s 150. The Australian bowlers have now moved to bowling around the wicket and this match is not going anywhere. The captains might as well shake hands and call it a draw right now. India 403/6.
10.30 am: At drinks in the first session, India have reached 397/6. Josh Hazlewood is trying to get under the skins of the two Indian batsmen, but both are not taking the bait. This must be frustrating for Australia – the inability to take wickets and the stonewall defence of the Indians.
10.20 am: India 390/6. Umpire Chris Gaffaney is not having a good time out in the middle:
10.05 am: India 383/6. The Indians have been quiet again in the half hour since start of play. Showing no urgency to up the rate of scoring. This is only further eliminating the possibility of a result in this match. However, it is quite overcast in Ranchi and the floodlights have been switched on. Will we see some rain?
9.45 am: This is the ball-tracking of Saha’s DRS review:
9.40 am: India 368/6, trail by 83. We’re off on day four and we have a DRS review in the second over itself. Cummins raps Saha in front. Umpire Chris Gaffaney thinks it’s out, but India decide to review. And it turns out to be a successful one as ball tracking shows the ball would have missed leg stump. That looked plumb in real-time. India seem to have worked on their reviews!
9.20 am: Will this pitch crack open on day four?
India hardly moved along on the moving day of the Ranchi Test, scoring only 240 runs at the loss of five wickets to end at 360/6. Cheteshwar Pujara scored the first century by an Indian batsman in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India still trail Australia by 91 runs with Pujara (130 not out) and Wriddhiman Saha (18 not out) on crease, after Australia made 451 in the first innings.
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