Pujara, Rahane fifties leave Australia facing first Test defeat

Photo: AFP

India piled on the runs to stretch their lead to 275 and leave Australia staring down the barrel of a first Test defeat Sunday, with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane hitting composed half-centuries.

At lunch, India were 260 for 5, leading by 275 after adding 109 to their overnight score for the loss of two wickets.

Pujara followed up his first innings century with another patient and controlled 71, finally undone by the spin of Nathan Lyon with Aaron Finch taking a bat-pad catch.

Rahane remained unbeaten on 57 after a crucial 87-run partnership with Pujara. Rishabh Pant was not out 10, with Rohit Sharma the other wicket to fall. Lyon has taken 3 for 92.

Play started 30 minutes early to make up for rain disruptions on Saturday, with Australia desperate for an early breakthrough to build on the momentum after Virat Kohli fell to Lyon near the close on day three.

But two fours from Pujara off Josh Hazlewood in the second over of the day set the tone.

The right-hander brought up 50 - his 20th in Tests - with a three off Lyon and hardly looked troubled until the spinner's off-break fooled him half an hour before lunch.

At the other end, vice-captain Rahane was also solid, surviving a decision to give him out off a bat-pad catch off Lyon on review. He rubbed salt in the wound by smacking the next ball for four and brought up his 16th half-century with another boundary.

Sharma was the only failure, out for one with Peter Handscomb taking a good catch at silly point, again off Lyon.

It leaves Australia with a mountain to climb for an unlikely win. The biggest successful fourth innings Test run chase at Adelaide in modern times was 239 in 1982, when the West Indies managed the feat.

The only one of more than 300 came in 1902, although Western Australia in a domestic match last month hit 313 to beat South Australia on the ground with Shaun Marsh -- who is playing in the Test - scoring 163 not out.

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