India in strong position after 3 days of 1st test

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India's Cheteshwar Pujara bats during the first cricket test between Australia and India in Adelaide, Australia, Saturday, Dec. 8. (AP Photo/James Elsby)
India’s Cheteshwar Pujara bats during the first cricket test between Australia and India in Adelaide, Australia, Saturday, Dec. 8. (AP Photo/James Elsby)

Adelaide, Australia (AP) — First-innings century maker Cheteshwar Pujara again blunted Australia’s attack to put India in a strong position after a rain-interrupted third day of the first test on Saturday.

India reached stumps at 151 for three in their second innings, an overall lead of 166 runs. Pujara was 40 not out and Ajinkya Rahane unbeaten on one run.

Pujara shared a 71-run third-wicket partnership with captain Virat Kohli. They threatened to bat through the session before Kohli prodded to short-leg from the bowling of spinner Nathan Lyon.

Kohli made 34 from 104 deliveries but fell to Lyon for the sixth time in his test career. Kohli received a hostile reception from the Adelaide Oval crowd on his way to the crease and he was watchful against probing Australian bowling.

With footmarks to aim at, Lyon was the main threat, but Pujara successfully reviewed decisions twice from his bowling.

India’s second innings was delayed due to rain interruptions either side of lunch. Openers Murali Vijay and K.L. Rahul produced a 63-run partnership, their highest outside of India. Vijay fell to Mitchell Starc for 18 and Rahul (44 off 67 balls) was dismissed just before tea by Josh Hazlewood.

The out-of-form Rahul only scored one run off his first 25 deliveries. After seeing off Starc, he opened up and counterattacked Pat Cummins, hitting a cover drive for six.

“(The match is) slightly in our favor because we have a good lead,” India paceman Jasprit Bumrah said. “The first session (of day four) will be very important. If we capitalize on that, we will be in a very good place in this match.”