Hubli: Oct 11, 2013
Cheteshwar Pujara cracked his third triple ton in first-class cricket as India A rode on his brilliance to force West Indies A stare at an embarrassing defeat in the third unofficial ‘Test’ in Hubli on Friday.
West Indies trail the hosts by 180 runs with seven wickets remaining in their second innings.
Pujara notched up an unbeaten 306 in a masterly exhibition of batsmanship as India A declared their first innings at 564 for nine just at the stroke of tea in reply to West Indies A’s 268 in their first essay, to take a substantial 296-run lead.
At stumps on day three, the Indians had reduced the visitors to 116 for three in their second innings at KSCA Stadium.
The bowlers forced the Windies top order batsmen to surrender tamely with Zaheer Khan trapping stand-in captain Kieran Powell leg before for six, while Dhawal Kulkarni clean bowled Leon Johnson for one.
Right-arm medium fast Ishwar Pandey claimed the prized wicket of Kraigg Brathwaite leg before for 21. The right-hand batsman had been a thorn in the flesh for the hosts with two half centuries and a century in the series.
With just a day left in the match, India A will look to push for victory by making best use of morning conditions on the final day Saturday.
Captain Pujara, who became only the second Indian after Ravindra Jadeja to score three triple hundreds, would be expecting Zaheer, Abhishek Nayar and Kulkarni to come good and help India A level the three-match series 1-1.
Friday belonged to the Saurashtrian run-machine Pujara, who displayed an innings of discipline and character to tilt the match in India A’s favour.
West Indies A 268 (Leon Johnson 81, Assad Fudadin 47; Abhishek Nayar 4 for 61) and 116 for 3 (Narsingh Deonarine 44, Assad Fudadin 36; Ishwar Pandey 1 for 11) trail India A 564 for 9 decl. (Gautam Gambhir 123, Cheteshwar Pujara 306*; Ashley Nurse 3 for 106) by 180 runs.