In the end it took a moment of brilliance to end a knock of sheer stubbornness.

Indian No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara batted for almost all of Thursday's play, coming to the crease at the end of the second over - and departing to a piece of magic in the field by Pat Cummins with the last ball of the day.

Cummins got airborne and - off balance and with one stump to aim at - unleashed a direct hit that left Pujara well short of his ground.

It was a sensational piece of fielding the equal of any of the greats of the craft over the years - think Jonty Rhodes, Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds.

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And then you throw in that Cummins had toiled in the 40 degree Adelaide heat to the tune of 19 energy sapping overs and it begins to paint the picture of what is an exceptional cricketer.

India's Cheteshwar Pujara is run out during the first cricket test between Australia and India in Adelaide, Australia,Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/James Elsby)
India's Cheteshwar Pujara is run out during the first cricket test between Australia and India in Adelaide, Australia,Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/James Elsby)

Gilchrist heaped praise on Cummins after the runout.

"That should not be allowed!" Gilchrist said on Fox Cricket's coverage.

"A fast bowler who's bowled 20 overs, in the last two minutes of the day, what an athlete!

"What a way to finish for the Australians. That'll have their tails up. What an inspirational runout by Pat Cummins.

"That's the best runout ever! I'm calling it, I'm calling it early!"

"That's an unbelievable bit of fielding from Pat Cummins. Wow, that's special," Waugh said on the telecast.

"Along with Usman Khawaja's catch, that's two great bits of fielding today.

"That's magnificent fielding, side-on, diving and throwing in one motion from the big quick."

Mark Waugh echoed Gilchrist, and also touched on Usman Khawaja's brilliant catch earlier in the day to dismiss Virat Kohli for just three off Cummins' bowling.

It could yet have a huge impact on the Test and series, with Pujara having already added 123 runs with the tail following the dismissal of wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant - the final recognised batsman.