Australia vs India 2018-19: Really Hard To Get Cheteshwar Pujara Out: Tim Paine
It was a case of so close yet so far for Australia as they lost the thrilling first Test against India by 31 runs. The hosts gave the world number one Test side a run for their money but the failure to capitalise on key moments cost them dear.
Asked to bowl first, they had India reeling at 41 for 4 in the first innings. However, they could not find a way past Cheteshwar Pujara and ended up conceding 250. With the bat, they kept on losing wickets at regular intervals and were all out for 235.
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In the second innings, Australia were well on backfoot after Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane scored fifties. However, the hosts took the last 5 Indian wickets for just 25 runs to get the much-needed momentum. But their failure with the bat once again let them down. Openers Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris failed to give the team a good start in pursuit of an improbable 322.
Barring Shaun Marsh, who scored 60, none of the other top-order batters could contribute much. It looked all over when Australia found themselves 7 down for 187. However, the game was not over yet. Australia’s stubborn tail was not ready to throw in the towel yet.
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Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc took the score past the 200-run mark, adding 41 runs to frustrate the visitors. Mohammed Shami broke the stand when he accounted for Starc. But it did not end the troubles for India. Cummins and Nathan Lyon took the score past the 250-run mark as Australia smelled a miraculous win while the visitors started to smell a calamity. However, before it could get too late, Jasprit Bumrah removed Cummins.
There was, however, no end to the drama as Lyon and Josh Hazlewood frustrated India even more. The two played with India’s nerves as the cricketing world started sensing an upset. However, R Ashwin finally picked up a wicket after bowling 33 overs on the day when he made Hazlewood edge one to Rahul in the slips and break the Australian hearts.
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Speaking after the game, Tim Paine expressed his disappointment over the close loss. At the same time, he took nothing away from India as he said:
“It’s pretty shattering really. Proud of the fight from the lower order. A well-deserved win for India. We thought we could win, no doubt about that, but our batters couldn’t bat for long enough with our tail. We saw how the pitch is playing and told ourselves we are gonna dig deep, but unfortunately, myself, Travis and Shaun couldn’t bat long as long as we should have.”
He further said that Cheteshwar Pujara’s ton in the first innings made the difference.
“That’s (Pujara’s innings) the difference between the two sides. Really hard to get him (Pujara) out. We gotta cope with the belief that we can win this Test series, we just need someone in our top six to go big . My finger is fine,” said Paine.
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