Melbourne: Cheteshwar Pujara contributed an unbeaten 130 to India`s 303 for four on the opening day of the fourth Test against Australia on Thursday, keeping the tourists firmly on track for a historic breakthrough with his third century of the series.
The hosts, facing a desperate scrap to avoid being the first Australia team to lose a series to India on home soil, managed to dislodge Mayank Agarwal after a bright 77, Virat Kohli for 23 and Ajinkya Rahane for 18.
Pujara, however, would just not budge and eked out his innings at a rate of little more than a run every other ball to take his series tally to 458 and add another century to those that helped India to victories in Adelaide and Melbourne.
Those victories to Australia`s one win in Perth means India only need to avoid a defeat in the final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) to secure their maiden Test series triumph Down Under.
Again India`s rock, Pujara put together partnerships of 116 with Agarwal, 54 with Kohli, 48 with Rahane and finished the day with an unbroken stand of 75 with Hanuma Vihari, who will resume on day two on 39 not out.
Australia`s bowlers laboured manfully on a hot day but it was hard to avoid the conclusion that they were firmly behind the eight-ball from the moment Tim Paine lost the toss.
India have never lost a test match when Kohli has won the toss — winning 18 and drawing three — but more importantly the tourists had the opportunity to bat the Australians out of the game as they did in Melbourne.
Josh Hazlewood struck early on a wicket with a greenish tinge to remove KL Rahul for nine but that only brought Pujara to the crease to join Agarwal, the senior man initially happy to let the opener take the scoring load.
Agarwal faced some hostile short bowling from the Australian pacemen, brushing off blows to his elbow and helmet as Mitchell Starc, in particular, gave him a thorough going over.
After adding a second half-century to add to his first on debut in Melbourne, the 27-year-old opened up with a couple of sixes off Nathan Lyon only to hole out to Starc at long-on going for a third.
Kohli announced his arrival at the crease with a four punched through extra cover but fell straight after tea when a Hazlewood delivery down the leg side caught his glove and flew to Paine behind the stumps.
Left-armer Starc has come under some criticism for his bowling in this series but there was nothing wrong with the angled bouncer that accounted for Rahane, who also gloved behind to Paine.
Pujara, meanwhile, had no time for too many expansive strokes and he came up with his 18th Test century when he swatted the 199th ball he faced to fine-leg and it just reached the boundary rope for his 13th four.
Dhoni could be ‘exposed’ by Yuvraj’s dad after World Cup
Mumbai: Father of recently retired former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh, Yograj has struck again, and all the signs point toward former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
While the cricketer is busy preparing for India’s next clash against Pakistan on Sunday after rain played spoilsport on the much-hyped India-New Zealand clash, a recent video of Yograj has surfaced where he speaks about an ‘un-named’ player who is responsible for the ‘dirty politics’ in the Indian cricket team.
Yograj further goes on to state that this player is the reason that many players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, VVS Laxman, and his own son Yuvraj Singh were not included in the Indian team at crucial points in time.
While Yograj didn’t reveal much about the player he talks about, he did mention that he’d make the complete revelations after the currently ongoing 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup. Based on earlier allegations by Yograj, who was also a former pace bowler, towards then Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, It seems pretty evident that he is speaking of ‘Captain Cool’.
“I don’t want to take his name but he has been playing these dirty politics from the last 15 years. He has made lives difficult for Indian cricketers. I will make this revelation after the World Cup gets over. He will remember this for life that someone said something about him,” said Yograj.
“I don’t want to speak about him at this point in time because I don’t want the team to get affected during the World Cup,” he added.
FIFA Rankings: India unmoved at 101
London: The Indian national team remain unmoved in the June 2019 edition of the FIFA Rankings released.
Following India’s exit from the 2019 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup, India have had a change in coach with Igor Stimac replacing Stephen Constantine.
Under Stimac, India recently participated in the King’s Cup 2019 in Thailand where a 3-1 defeat against Curacao (79) was backed by a 1-0 win over hosts Thailand (116) in the third-place play-off.
GFX India FIFA Rankings June 2019
The Blue Tigers are set to face Tajikistan (120), DPR Korea (122) and Syria (85) in the upcoming Intercontinental Cup 2019 next. India enter the tournament as defending champions.
Meanwhile, in the global standings, Belgium continue to lead at the top having bettered their advantage over second-placed France who also stay put in their position, the same as Brazil and England at third and fourth spots respectively.
2019 UEFA Nations League champions Portugal have displaced Croatia to stand fifth while Spain (7) has gained two places. Germany (11 – tied with Argentina), Italy and Netherlands (both at 14) have also moved two places up.
Coutinho brace helps Brazil forget Neymar in winning Copa start
Sao Paulo: A brace from Philippe Coutinho handed hosts Brazil a winning start to the Copa America in a 3-0 victory over Bolivia as the absence of superstar Neymar was quickly forgotten.
Barcelona’s Coutinho scored from the penalty spot early in the second half and added a close-range header three minutes later.
Substitute Everton netted a sensational third five minutes from time to clinch a Group A victory for coach Tite’s tournament favorites in Sao Paul.
The build-up to the competition had been dominated by Neymar’s woes, firstly when he was accused of rape by a Brazilian model, and then when he damaged ankle ligaments in a friendly last week, forcing him out of the Copa.
If Brazil’s first-half performance was anything to go by, the Paris Saint-Germain star was sorely missed, but Coutinho’s brace at least silenced the jeers that met the team at half-time.
“Whistles are part of the game, the fans want us to win and play well, so that’s why they jeer,” said the match-winner, whose goals papered over the cracks of an at times disjointed performance.
“We always want their support but we’re focused on the objective, which is the match,” Coutinho told Brazil’s SportTV.
“Whistles or cheers, the important thing is to stay focused and get the win.” Brazil made a bright start and predictably dominated the early possession and chances
But surprisingly their greatest threat came from set-pieces with Coutinho’s corner delivery causing panic in the Bolivian backline.