UPDATE 1-Cricket-Pujara falls short of double century but India bat on
Cheteshwar Pujara fell short of a double century but Australia's hopes of winning the match and saving the series were fading fast as India reached 491 for six at tea the second day of the fourth and final test on Friday. Pujara had played his brand of all but error-free cricket for more than nine hours at the Sydney Cricket Ground and looked destined to secure a fourth double century of his career only to come up seven runs short.
In the end, the 30-year-old went with a whimper rather than a bang, scooping the ball back down the wicket to be caught and bowled by wily off-spinner Nathan Lyon for 193. India are no one-man show, however, and his erstwhile partner Rishabh Pant kept the scoreboard ticking over with his first half century of the series. The wicketkeeper-batsman will resume on 88 not out with Ravindra Jadeja unbeaten on 25 at the other end as India look to bat the home side out of a match the tourists only need to draw to secure a first series victory in Australia. Pujara's centuries in Adelaide and Melbourne went a long way to giving India a 2-1 series lead and his 373-ball innings over the first two days of the fourth test could prove decisive.
The almost chanceless innings featured 22 fours and took his tally over the series to 521 runs at an average of 74.42. Australia's previous best opportunity to dismiss him had come when he was already on 192. Lyon (3-144) was again the architect but Usman Khawaja in the slips was just unable to reach the ball after it had come off Pujara's bat and wicketkeeper Tim Paine's glove. Australia had started the day with hopes of making major inroads into India's batting order on another sunny morning. They were largely frustrated, though, even if Lyon removed Hanuma Vihari caught at short leg for 42 and break his 101 partnership with Pujara. Pujara's innings was studded with big partnerships and he had built another of 89 runs with Pant before he took his leave to a standing ovation from the Sydney crowd.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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