India vs Australia 2018 3rd Test MCG: Cheteshwar Pujara has hardly put a foot wrong during his another incredible knock in India’s ongoing tour to Australia. Pujara displayed zen-like focus, exuded brilliant confidence and showed unmatched determination as he slammed his 17th Test hundred in the third Test against Australia at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Thursday. With this knock, Pujara also completed the milestone of scoring 2000 Test runs away from home. Also Read - IPL 2020: Prithvi Shaw on Match-winning Effort vs Chennai Super Kings, Says Trying to Play Along The Ground Helped me
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The highlight of Puajra’s innings is that he played Australia’s best bowler of the series – Nathan Lyon superbly. He was quick on his feet while taking on Lyon, judged his length perfectly to either defend stoutly or use his bat like a rapier to drive on either side of the wicket. Pujara’s ton also put him alongside the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane to score a hundred on the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Also Read - CSK vs DC IPL 2020 Match Report: Prithvi Shaw, Kagiso Rabada Shine as Delhi Capitals Inflict 44-run Defeat on Chennai Super Kings
Boxing Day Test 100s for India at the MCG:
116 S Tendulkar, 1999
195 V Sehwag, 2003
169 V Kohli, 2014
147 A Rahane, 2014
100*C PUJARA, 2018
During his top knock in Melbourne, Pujara also went past his previous best tally of runs scored in an overseas Test series. He had scored 309 runs in Sri Lanka in 2017, and currently has 325 runs in this ongoing series. Also, Pujara took the most number of deliveries to reach the three-figure landmark, he took 280-balls to complete his ton.
Most balls to 100 for Pujara:
280 vs Aus, MCG, 2018
248 vs Eng, Mumbai WS, 2012
246 vs SL, Nagpur, 2017
231 vs Aus, Adelaide, 2018
At the lunch break on day 2, Pujara was batting on 103 runs while skipper Virat Kohli was giving him company on 69, as the duo put on 154 runs for the unbeaten third wicket. Starting from overnight 215/2, India looked ready for another hard day’s grind, with Kohli reaching his half-century, off 110 balls, in the very first over of the day.
The two batsmen scored quickly in the first hour and kept the scorecard ticking over, before Australia went back to their tactic of cutting runs. Pat Cummins (2/46) bowled another wonderful spell, extracting most out of the pitch than any other Australian bowler, and he beat the edges of both batsmen on a couple occasions but without any luck.
Nathan Lyon (0/80) bowled with a predominantly leg-side field and into the batsmen. His duel with Pujara was quite remarkable, as the batsman kept turning him to the onside again and again.
On the rare occasion, Lyon pulled his length back and Pujara used his feet well and drove him to the offside against the turn. He played a couple of brilliant cover drives in this method and sped to his hundred in the second hour of play.
At the other end, Kohli had his moments. After being dropped on 47 on day one, he rode his luck flashing through the gap between slips and gully. He was beaten more than Pujara, but also mixed it with glorious drives, particularly one down the ground onside.
Australia kept a tight leash on the scoring rate as 62 runs came from 28 overs in this morning session. Even so, they could not deny Pujara who reached his second hundred of this series off 280 balls just before to lunch.
On day one, Mayank Agarwal (76) scored his maiden Test half-century after India won the toss and opted to bat.