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A sashay down the pitch, a free swing of the arms, and KL Rahul had gone from 96 to 102. It was his third Test hundred, and he had taken 182 balls to get there.At the other end, Cheteshwar Pujara was batting on 28 off 106 balls. His strike rate was 26.41. Rahuls was 56.04.If you had just arrived at the ground, or had just switched on your televisions, it might have seemed like two top-order batsmen adopting contrasting methods against the same bowling attack, in the same conditions. That wasnt quite the case.At the start of day two, Rahul had been batting on 75 off 114 balls, and Pujara on 18 off 57. When he reached his hundred, Rahul had added 27 to his overnight score in 68 balls, and Pujara, in that time had made 10 off 49. India had scored 45 in 19 overs, at a run rate of 2.36.On a pitch still offering bounce and seam movement, West Indies quicks had bowled with discipline, holding a fifth-stump line, trying to draw the batsmen into indiscretion. Neither batsman had obliged. Of the 84 balls that Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder and Miguel Cummins had sent down in the morning, till that point, Rahul and Pujara had left 38 and defended 29.Against the fast bowlers, Rahul had been just as watchful as Pujara. Ten of the 27 runs he had scored had come off two strokes; the six that brought up his hundred and a swept four, both off the offspinner Roston Chase. Take out those two shots, and Rahuls strike rate for the day was 25.00, hardly different to Pujaras 20.41.Both batsmen were playing exactly as the situation demanded. It was hard-nosed Test cricket.West Indies had been shot out for 196, and had ended day one with India one down and 70 behind. They had bowled poorly on the first afternoon, the fast bowlers sending down half-volleys and the spinners, particularly Devendra Bishoo, routinely dropping short. Rahul had taken full toll, with languid drives, deft clips off his toes and dismissive pulls, and scored his runs at a strike rate of just over 65.West Indies must have resolved to bowl with far more discipline on the second morning, use whatever help the pitch still gave them, and hoped they could get a wicket or two early to put India under some sort of pressure. Given the quality of bowlers at their disposal, they perhaps did not feel confident enough to bowl a more attacking line. And so the fifth-stump line, and the hope of inducing errors.India were determined not to make those errors. Followers of Indian cricket may have become used to self-denial from Pujara, the refusal to be drawn into looseness outside off stump. Rahul they knew less about. This was only his sixth Test. He had scored freely on the first day, but had been allowed to do so to a large extent. Now the bowling was better, and he was showing he could handle that as well.The day began with Holder bowling to Rahul and Gabriel to Pujara. Holder bowled three successive maidens as Pujara played the second line expertly. When the line was wide outside off stump, he could leave comfortably, but when it was closer, he waited until the last possible moment, eyes locked on the balls trajectory, before deciding whether to leave or defend. It took him until the last ball of the first hour, in the first over of spin, to score his first runs of the morning.Gabriel, quicker and more aggressive, posed a more direct threat, getting some balls to straighten off the pitch and others to climb awkwardly. Rahul weaved away nimbly from the short ones, got on top of the bounce when he could, and by and large left comfortably outside off stump.He had a couple of edgy moments, playing and missing when he tried to cut one too close to his body, and then again while defending a legcutter off the front foot. But he made sure his hands didnt jab at the ball, and ensured it kept a safe distance from his edge.Cummins, the debutant, came on after the drinks break, and tested Pujara, beating both his edges with seam movement and getting a shortish ball to rear at him and hit his glove. Pujara handled this as well as he possibly could, his top hand snug against his chest at the point of impact and his bottom hand off the handle, and the ball fell harmlessly by his side.There was still life in the pitch, but there was nothing to show for it on the scorecard. West Indies had bowled poorly on the first day and taken just one wicket; they had bowled much better now and taken no wickets.As the partnership moved towards lunch and then past it, the runs flowed a little easier. Pujara drove Cummins and Gabriel to the straight boundary, and in between slapped Cummins through cover point. Rahul stepped out to Bishoo and lofted him over extra-cover, achieving a full, fluid extension of his arms.Then, a boundary short of a half-century, Pujara made a fatal misjudgment. A shortish ball at his hips, tucked into the leg side. Perhaps the ball came on slower than expected, and went squarer than he intended, reducing the distance Chase had to cover to his right from midwicket. Chase ran, picked up, spun around, and threw down the stumps at the bowlers end. A beautiful moment of athletic poise. Pujara, sprawled flat on the ground, knew he was out. He picked himself up, his shirt streaked with dirt, and trudged back.He had made 21, 31, 14, 28, 16 and 46 in his last six Test innings.Shrugging off a brief attack of cramps, Rahul moved to a career-best 158 before he fell in the fifth over after tea. This was some effort. Five of his six Tests had come because of injury to one of Indias settled openers. He had scored three hundreds in those six Tests. With this latest performance, he had made himself extremely hard to leave out.When Vijay, one of Indias most consistent Test performers in the last two-and-a-half years, recovers from the thumb injury that has kept him out of this game, India will have a hard decision to make. Rahul has just scored a hundred. Shikhar Dhawan made 84 important runs in Antigua. Pujaras recent scores do not leap off the page. Since scoring an unbeaten 145 against Sri Lanka last year and starting the home series against South Africa with 77 in a low-scoring Test in Mohali, he has made a string of in-between scores.In Antigua, he steered India past the early loss of Vijay, saw off a testing spell from Gabriel, and took India to lunch with no further loss of wickets, but had only made 16 when he got himself out to a miscued pull. Now, again, he had got himself out after doing the hard work.If theres one single, unified cause for Pujaras recent run, its hard to identify. But something isnt quite right. Rahul has three hundreds and no fifties in six Tests. Pujara once had a similar record. After the first Test of Indias 2013-14 tour of South Africa, he had scored seven hundreds and only two fifties, in 16 Tests.Since then, he has made one hundred, four fifties, and 15 scores between 20 and 49. His failure rate is still quite low - he has only been out 11 times for single-digit scores in 58 Test innings - but has not been converting his starts for a while. Something has changed, and it has been a while since Pujara last looked like the big-hundred machine he was in his first few seasons.If India leave out Pujara when Vijay returns and play Rahul at No. 3, they will not quite get a like-for-like replacement. Rahul has shown a great ability to convert his starts, but he has also shown he can be vulnerable early on, and has been out six times for single-digit scores in just eleven Test innings. Rahul brims with talent, but still has to show he isnt a hundred-or-nothing batsman.How will India line up when Vijay returns to full fitness? Will they back Pujara to find a solution for his curious malaise? Will they play Rahul, perhaps out of position, and back him to show he has tightened his early-innings game? Or will they leave out Dhawan or even, unlikely as it seems, Vijay? 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Uniteds eighth defeat of a wretched campaign means Liverpool, which currently occupies the fourth and final Champions League place, could go nine points clear of its fierce rival by beating West Bromwich Albion on Sunday. Charlie Adam scored both of Stokes goals at Britannia Stadium either side of Robin van Persies equalizer, with a miserable day for seventh-place United capped by first-half injuries to centre halves Jonny Evans and Phil Jones that forced them off.NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter is set to rejoin the New York Yankees following a nine-month layoff. The 39-year-old captain was in the starting lineup for Thursdays series finale against the Kansas City Royals. Jeter broke his left ankle during the AL championship series opener against Detroit last Oct. 13. He had said he would return by opening day, then fractured the ankle again in April during his rehabilitation. A 13-time All-Star with a .313 career average, Jeter hopes to jolt a batting order that is next to last in runs in the AL. New York hopes to get third baseman Alex Rodriiguez back this month following January hip surgery and centre fielder Curtis Granderson next month after his broken pinkie has healed.ddddddddddddFirst baseman Mark Teixeira is out for the season following wrist surgery. Jeter went 1 for 9 during a four-game injury rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre that started Saturday, including 0 for 3 during seven innings Wednesday night. New York manager Joe Girardi, whose team started Thursday fourth in the AL East at 49-42, had not committed to a timetable for the return of the Yankees captain. ' ' '

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