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18 Aug 2017, 16:07 HRS IST
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  • Pujara, Saha frustrate Australia

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14:42 HRS IST

Ranchi, Mar 19 (PTI) Cheteshwar Pujara frustrated Australia in his record stay at the crease while closing in on his third double ton as India reached 503 for 6 in their first innings to take a 52-run lead at tea on day four of the third cricket Test here today.

Pujara became the first Indian to face more than 500 balls in an innings as he got past his 'role model' Rahul Dravid's 12-year-old record of a longest innings in terms of balls faced.

Dravid had faced 495 balls for his 270 against Pakistan in April 2004.

Pujara (batting 190) has so far faced 505 deliveries and has hit 20 boundaries as he remained 10 runs short of a third double century at the tea break.

Number eight Saha (batting 99), on the other end, was one run shy of his third Test century as the duo put together 175 runs for the unbroken seventh wicket as Australia went wicketless for yet another session.

Pujara batted more than five sessions in his unbeaten innings, spanning 10 hours and 53 minutes, as his showed his love for occupying the crease for long hours.

The 29-year-old Pujara, who has three triple first-class tons to his name, remained focused throughout and restrained himself from playing any risky shot which was the hallmark of his innings.

In a partnership reminiscent of their 316-run unbroken second wicket stand in Rest of India's Irani Cup match earlier this year, Pujara and Saha looked tireless and denied the Australians success after India resumed the day on 390/6 under overcast conditions.

Australia took the new ball after lunch with Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins bowling in tandem but Pujara and Saha's patient approach on an eased-out wicket continued to elude them the breakthrough.

Hosting its maiden Test, the JSCA International Stadium track surprisingly did not offer any assistance to the bowlers on the fourth day and the Indian duo did not mind a bit.

It remains to be seen when India takes the declaration call.

The Australians also went wicketless in the morning session with Pujara and Saha making them toil hard.

If their dogged partnership was not enough, India piled misery on the Australians who were unsuccessful twice while using referrals -- when Saha was on 19 and Pujara on 157 -- in the morning.

Australia were left frustrated when their review for a catch off a sweep shot of Saha in the last over before lunch was also overturned.

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