Cheteshwar Pujara’s first century in Australia helped India recover on the opening day of the first Test in Adelaide.
On a day where it touched 40 degrees in the middle at the Adelaide Oval, Pujara provided almost half the runs in India’s 250 for nine.
Pujara made 123 from 246 balls before falling to what proved to be the last ball of the day, stranded by a brilliant direct hit from Pat Cummins.
It was a monumental effort from the 30-year-old after India had slumped to 41 for four, with the top-order guilty of some careless batting.
Openers Lokesh Rahul (2) and Murali Vijay (11) fell before India picked up the prize wicket of Virat Kohli.
The India captain had only made three when he chased a full and wide delivery from Cummins and was brillaintly caught by Usman Khawaja in the slip cordon.
Ajinkya Rahane (13) also departed quickly before Pujara rebuilt the innings in tandem with Rohit Sharma (37), Rishabh Pant (25) and Ravichandran Ashwin (25).
But Nathan Lyon’s wily off-spin kept Australia on top and he took the wickets of Sharma and Pant to return figures of two for 83 from 28 overs.
Pacemen Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Cummins also finished the day with two wickets apiece.
Pujara went scoreless for a period of 29 deliveries on 11, but his patience was just what India required as the visitors edged towards respectability.
He was fortunate on 89 when replays suggested he got a nick to wicket-keeper Tim Paine on an attempted cut off Hazlewood, but Australia did not review.
Pujara punished Australia for that error by moving to 99 with successive legside blows off Hazlewood before clipping Starc wide of mid-on to reach three figures.
Cummins’ brilliance finally ended his resistance and gave Australia a definite advantage heading into day two.
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