Pujara century holds India together

RANCHI: Cheteshwar Pujara struck his 11th test hundred as India reached 303-4 at tea on day three of the third test here against Australia, trailing the visitors by 148 runs.

At the break, Pujara was unbeaten on 109, while Karun Nair was 13 not out.

Virat Kohli (6), who spent much of the first two days off the field with an injured shoulder, came out to bat after the lunch break to a rousing reception. But he didn't give the Saturday crowd at the JSCA International Stadium much to cheer about. Australia took the second new ball immediately it was due in the 80th over, and four deliveries later Kohli was caught at second slip off paceman Pat Cummins (3-49).

Cummins extracted additional bounce from this pitch on account of his pace, and it helped dismiss Ajinkya Rahane (14), who was caught behind attempting to chip a sharp bouncer over the slip cordon, ending a 51-run stand with Pujara.

Pujara went on to reach his hundred off 214 balls and helped India cross 300 in the 99th over.

Earlier, Murali Vijay (82) scored his 15th test half-century and put on 102 runs with Pujara to propel India's reply in the morning session. He was out stumped off Steve O'Keefe (1-96) in the last over before lunch.

Australia scored 451 runs in their first innings across days one and two, thanks to Steve Smith's 178 runs and Glenn Maxwell's maiden test hundred (104). Ravindra Jadeja picked up 5-124.

The four-match series is level at 1-1. Australia won the first test at Pune by 333 runs, and India leveled with a 75-run win in Bangalore.