Pujara, Cummins shine on tense third day

first_imgBy Amlan ChakrabortyRANCHI, India(Reuters)-Top order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara compiled an industrious unbeaten century to keep India on course to match Australia’s first-innings total of 451 in the third test on Saturday.Australia paceman Pat Cummins made a successful return to Test cricket after five years in the wilderness, oozing hostility and claiming 4-59 on a placid track to help restrict the hosts to 360-6 on day three of the contest.Pujara was batting on 130 at stumps, the first century by an Indian batsman in the four-Ttest series, having spent nearly seven hours at the crease to consolidate his team’s position in the contest.Wriddhiman Saha was giving him company on 18 with India still 91 runs behind.Pujara is a steady accumulator of runs in an Indian line-up of mostly flamboyant stroke-makers and his solid defence stood him in great stead as his 11th Test century underlined the virtue of playing along the turf, minimising risks.The 29-year-old hit 17 boundaries in his composed knock, often threading the ball through gaps and letting the exceptionally fast outfield carry it across the rope.Australia bowling coach David Saker said the contest was interestingly poised after a hard-fought day.“It’s great Test-match cricket,” Saker, who was England’s bowling coach from 2010 to 2015, told reporters.“We really put them under a lot of pressure. They absorbed it, especially Pujara who played a fantastic innings.”“We’re still ahead of the game but they are getting closer every over… we’ll be coming out pretty strong tomorrow.”Resuming the day on 120 for one, Pujara and Murali Vijay raised their sixth century partnership of the season to lead India’s strong reply.Playing his 50th Test, Vijay, then on 58, survived a bat-pad catch when the inside edge went undetected and Australia could not challenge the not-out decision having exhausted their reviews.The opener did not make the most of the reprieve, however. In the final over before lunch, Vijay jumped out to a Steve O’Keefe delivery only to be stumped for 82, which included 10 boundaries and a six.Virat Kohli walked out after lunch to thunderous applause, having stayed away from the field since injuring his shoulder on Thursday, and there was silence as he departed after facing 23 balls that yielded six runs.Armed with the second new ball, Cummins induced Kohli into a loose drive and Australia skipper Steve Smith took a sharp catch at second slip.Ajinkya Rahane belied his reputation as a watchful batsman with a ramp shot more suited to limited-overs cricket, feathering a Cummins delivery to wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.Karun Nair lost his off-stump to Josh Hazlewood and Ravichandran Ashwin could only glove a Cummins snorter to Wade in the final session.Vijay dismissed suggestions that India had lost momentum towards the end.“Not really, I think the game is evenly poised,” the opener told reporters. “If we can get closer to the target and maybe if possible get a lead from there, it would be a good game in hand.”The four-Test series is level at 1-1 with Dharamsala hosting the final match from March 25.AUSTRALIA 1st innings 451 (S. Smith 178no, G. Maxwell 104; R. Jadeja 5-124)India 1st innings (Overnight: 120-1)L. Rahul c Wade b Cummins 67M. Vijay st Wade b O’Keefe 82C. Pujara not out 130V. Kohli c Smith b Cummins 6A. Rahane c Wade b Cummins 14K. Nair b Hazlewood 23R. Ashwin c Wade b Cummins 3W. Saha not out 18Extras (b-14 lb-3) 17Total (for 6 wickets, 130 overs) 360Fall of wickets: 1-91 L. Rahul,2-193 M. Vijay,3-225 V. Kohli,4-276 A. Rahane,5-320 K. Nair,6-328 R. AshwinTo bat: R. Jadeja, U. Yadav, I. SharmaBowling: J. Hazlewood 31 – 9 – 66 – 1, P. Cummins 25 – 8 – 59 – 4S. O’Keefe 43 – 11 – 117 – 1, N. Lyon 29 – 2 – 97 – 0G. Maxwell 2 – 0 – 4 – 0last_img read more

Dodgers nursing A.J. Pollock along as he plays through groin injury

first_imgSUNDAY PLANRoberts is still not ready to name a starting pitcher for Sunday’s series finale in Atlanta. He acknowledged Tony Gonsolin is an option (he pitched Monday for Triple-A Oklahoma City) or “a bullpen game.”Dustin May would be part of that bullpen. The Dodgers are trying to slow May’s innings workload while also evaluating him for a potential relief role in the postseason by moving him to the bullpen now.“That’s the plan. The game situation could change things,” Roberts said of using May out of the bullpen Sunday. “But our goal right now is to have him come out of the ‘pen for an inning or two on Sunday.”Roberts said the Dodgers’ decision-makers have talked to May and asked for “open-mindedness” from the rookie right-hander while his role is “not clear.”“We’ve expressed that to Dustin,” Roberts said. “Right now we’re just trying to keep our options open as long as we can.”REHAB UPDATESChris Taylor (forearm) began his rehab assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday night by going 2 for 3 with a three-run home run.Kike’ Hernandez (hand) was scheduled to start his rehab assignment by playing for the Dodgers’ Arizona Summer League team Friday.Because he hasn’t been out as long as Taylor, Hernandez is expected to stay with the AZL team through the weekend and not move on to another affiliate in a higher classification.“If he’s confident where he’s at there, we’re not really worried about the level of competition,” Roberts said.Related Articles ATLANTA — A.J. Pollock isn’t injured seriously enough not to play. And he’s not healthy enough to be turned loose to play.Considering the 19 1/2-game lead in the National League West the Dodgers took into the weekend, they can live with that.“Obviously, I wish it was completely past us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Friday. “But we just have that luxury to kind of manage him and that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re going to do whatever it takes to get him out of it so that mentally, physically he’s not worried about it. And hopefully we don’t compromise him in the batter’s box where he’s getting the repetitions.”Pollock has been limited by a slight groin muscle injury since the start of August. He has played on consecutive days just once this month. Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season center_img Despite the cautious playing time, Pollock has gone 10 for 23 (.435) with four doubles and a home run in his past seven games. Roberts acknowledged the Dodgers don’t want Pollock to lose that feel in the batter’s box by shutting him down for 10 days (or more) on the Injured List.“We don’t. If we can kind play both sides … that’s a good thing not only for AJ but the Dodgers,” Roberts said. “We’ve done that with JT (Justin Turner). We’ve done that with Corey (Seager). And we got both of those guys out of harm’s way and kept them going. That’s our plan with AJ as well.”Pollock said the groin injury is “more frustrating” than painful and acknowledged that it is more of an issue in the field, when he tries to break on balls, than it is in the batter’s box.“It’s like in spring training when you’re trying to get used to a certain work load,” he said. “You’re good for a week or two and then all of a sudden something creeps up on you. That’s kind of what this is for me. You build up a tolerance for things and get past it. That’s what it’s been for me in the past. This time, it was a little more frustrating because it stuck around a lot longer than I wanted it to.“If I had a crystal ball and knew exactly what the timeline would have been and I’d be over it, that’d be great. But you show up feeling like you can help the team out every single day. … It’s just something I’m trying to work through and navigate.” Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Taylor and Hernandez are expected to come off the Injured List during the Dodgers’ homestand next week. Jedd Gyorko has gone 8 for 23 in eight rehab games and could also be activated next week.Meanwhile, left-hander Rich Hill (flexor tendon) has increased his throwing program to long tossing from 120 feet. He could start throwing off a mound during the next homestand.FRESH ARMReliever J.T. Chargois pitched in three of the Dodgers’ four games before Friday and was sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City Friday. Right-hander Josh Sborz was promoted to replace him in the bullpen.Chargois had a 13.50 ERA and a .391 average against him over his past eight appearances.UP NEXTDodgers (LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu 12-2, 1.45 ERA) at Braves (RHP Mike Foltynewicz 4-5, 6.24 ERA), 4:20 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available), AM 570 Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more