Cummins sorts out Pujara as Aussies on top

Scott Bailey
·3-min read

Pat Cummins put Australia in the perfect position to retake the lead in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after he landed another hammer blow to India's great wall Cheteshwar Pujara.

Cummins removed Pujara for the fourth time this summer on a horror Saturday for the tourists, taking 4-29 to have India all out for 244.

Australia then went to stumps on day three at 2-103 in their second innings, leading by 197, with Marnus Labuschagne not out on 47 and Steve Smith 29.

The pair have put on a crucial 68 for the third wicket after Will Pucovski (10) and David Warner (13) fell early, giving India a sniff.

Smith drove through the covers gloriously after doing likewise in his first-innings 131, while Labuschagne pounced on anything short.

It capped a disastrous day for India with Ravindra Jadeja (thumb) and Risabh Pant (elbow) both needing scans from body blows batting, while three other men were run out.

But it was Cummins' heroics that gave Australia the chance to break the 1-1 deadlock with one Test to play.

Pujara was India's stonewall on their triumphant tour two summers ago, but this series he has continually been beaten down by Cummins.

Where Australia were wore down by his marathon knocks in 2018-19, they have embraced his slow scoring this season with Cummins leading the charge.

Pujara scored his slowest Test half-century, from 174 balls, and two balls later had a delivery that got high on him from Cummins brush his glove through to Tim Paine.

Cummins now has the figures of 4-19 from 21 overs against Pujara this summer.

"He is someone you know you are going have to bowl a lot at," Cummins said.

"I think we got our head around that this series, for him to score runs we are going to make it as hard as possible.

"Whether he bats 200 or 300 balls, just try and bowl good ball after good ball and challenge both sides of his bat.

"At one stage he had been out there for 200 balls or 150 balls and I looked up there thinking they are still 200 away from our first-innings total.

"So if things go that way we can keep bowling well you're not overly bothered."

It wasn't the only blow Cummins landed.

He started the day by getting Ajinkya Rahane chopping on for 22, seaming one back at India's skipper as he went to late cut.

After removing Shubman Gill on day two, he also inflicted the pain to Pant's elbow before Hazlewood had him edging shortly after on 36.

Neither Pant or Jadeja - who was hit by Starc - returned to the field as India sweat on their fitness.

Cummins then did the job in the field to run out Ravichandran Ashwin in a collapse of 5-21.

Jasprit Bumrah also fell short of his ground to a brilliant direct hit from Marnus Labuschagne, who chased a ball from short leg, slid and threw down the stumps.

But even that wasn't as good as the effort from Hazlewood in the morning session.

Mid-spell, the 196cm quick moved low to his right to intercept a drive, throwing in one motion as he fell to claim a direct hit and catch Vihari well short.

The day's other flashpoint came when Australia were unsuccessful in having Pujara caught at bat-pad off Nathan Lyon.

The decision, after footage was obscured and there was no definite spike on hot spot, infuriated Paine who asked umpire Paul Wilson for some "f***ing consistency".