SCG Test, Day-5: Australia get rid of Pant and Pujara
Australia staged yet another comeback in the second session after India fought back on Day 5 of the SCG Test. They managed to dismiss both Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara, who brought back India in the hunt, early in the day. While Pant fell three runs short of what could have been a match-winning ton, Pujara showed notable resistance. Here is the session report.
After acing the first session, Pant and Pujara started afresh post-lunch. However, the former (97) finally fell to Nathan Lyon in an attempt to slog the ball down the ground. After a while, fast bowler Josh Hazlewood got rid of Pujara with a cracker that left him in splits. The visitors finished on 280/5 at tea, taking it to the final session.
Pant, who slammed his third Test fifty, looked set for a ton. His counter-attacking innings inspired some hope in the Indian camp after Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed early on. Pant was finally dismissed for 97 (118), smashing the second-highest score by an Indian wicket-keeper in the fourth innings of a Test. Interestingly, the highest score is also owned by Pant (114 vs Eng, 2018).
Contrary to Pant's gameplay, Pujara played in his own manner, silencing the critics. He took on the Australian bowlers with ease, and even smashed three consecutive fours in an over bowled by Pat Cummins. Interestingly, Cummins has dismissed Pujara four times in the ongoing series. However, this time, the latter (77 off 205 balls) departed with a ripper from Hazlewood.
During the fourth innings, Pujara became the 11th Indian to complete 6,000 runs in Test cricket. He reached the landmark in his 134th innings, thereby becoming the sixth-fastest Indian to do so after Sunil Gavaskar (117), Virat Kohli (119), Sachin Tendulkar (120), Virender Sehwag (123) and Rahul Dravid (125). Notably, Pujara hasn't scored a Test ton since January 2019.
Pujara and Pant stitched a 148-run stand before the latter departed. This has now become the highest fourth-wicket partnership for India in the fourth innings of a Test. Notably, the previous-best was 139 by Rusi Modi and Vijay Hazare (vs WI, 1948/49).