Cheteshwar Pujara spoke about the experience of being in the middle of the crease and negotiating body blows in a historic series which was won by India for a second successive time in the Australian backyard.
The eleven body blows Cheteshwar Pujara took during his courageous innings on day 5 of the Brisbane Test symbolized the fight India showed to win a coveted series in Australia.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Really Admirable To See Ajinkya Rahane Backing Bowlers
On that day, Cheteshwar Pujara was determined to thwart the Australian bowling by any means possible as he responded to a barrage of short balls by refusing to pull or use the bat to defend. To minimize his chances of offering a catch, he put his body on the line instead.
“It wasn’t the toughest thing to face,” Cheteshwar Pujara said in a sweeping interview. “It can be painful, but you are not getting out.”
Match by match, session by session, Cheteshwar Pujara spoke about the experience of being in the thick of the action in a historic series and on how he made a gash through Australia’s plans mid-way through the series.
“We started very confident, having played well last time (2018-19). We started off well, we were ahead on the first two days at Adelaide. Then, on the third day, in one hour, we lost the game. There was disappointment, but the way we came back, it was one of the best comebacks in my cricketing career. With the side we had, this one will be one of the best,” on the incredible series and bouncing back after 36 all out.
“I am not going into any comparisons. Virat had gone back, we lost the first Test, we had so many injuries. It was really admirable the way Jinks was backing his bowlers. He was really calm. Despite the first loss, we stuck together and kept believing that we can win this series,” on Ajinkya Rahane as captain.
“I have been hit many times on the body. I had a clear game plan on day 5. I felt it was important for us not to lose too many wickets in the first session. I got hit many times, but my wicket was very important. If we had lost any crucial wickets in that session, then we would have been in trouble. We knew that there was variable bounce on that wicket, ” on plans on Day 5 and bruises on body.
“The thing with variable bounce is, if you look to take bowlers on, then you can get a top edge. The best part about that innings was that I was focusing on the next ball. Also, with the finger injury it wasn’t easy for me to bat. I was in some pain. I had to grip the bat with four fingers. It wasn’t natural. Things still worked out pretty well,” on experts critical of approach.
“Most of the time, once I get past 50, my strike rate goes up. This series, I didn’t go on and score big scores. But one can’t compare performances to 2018-19 because getting three hundreds and 521 runs in a series can happen only a few times in your career, in some cases, only once,” on strike rate being low.
Cheteshwar Pujara was the highest run-scorer the last time Team India toured the country, as he piled 521 runs with three centuries in the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy series in 2018-19 as India won their maiden Test series Down Under.
Cheteshwar Pujara: Pat Cummins Have To Be Given Credit But Should Have Tackled Him A Little Better
Team India broke 32 years unbeaten Test record of Australia by chasing down the mammoth 328 runs target in the second innings at Gabba, a venue where Australia tasted defeat for the first time since 1988. With this win, India also retained Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
“I felt that I could have tackled him a little better. Cummins is ranked the No 1 Test bowler, and you have to give him credit. If you get out, you have to accept it and move on. Yes, on paper it might appear that Cummins has got me out a number of times. I was facing the most intense spells, walking in at No 3. That’s when he is the most dangerous with the new ball, ” on Pat Cummins dismissing him 5 times.
“In 2018-19 too, he was their top bowler. This time they had done some homework on my batting. I took some time to break that game plan but was able to do that later. It didn’t come in the first two matches, but it did come in the last two,” on Pat Cummins.
“When there is a new game plan, you need some time to counter that. I was able to come up with a way to counter that in the last two Tests,” on game plan by Australians.
“I have been facing him 2017-18 onwards, and I know his game plans and variations well now. You also need good game plans to counter him, because he is a very good bowler,” on strategy against Nathan Lyon.
“Both of them (Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill) are attacking players. That does help me in some way. If another partner is trying to take the bowler on, it allows me to play my natural game, ” on openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma.
“Both Chennai and Ahmedabad have been good for India. We will have the home advantage, but England is a good side, and we can’t take things lightly at all. They have done well in Sri Lanka in the recent series, ” thoughts on England series.
Cheteshwar Pujara made 56 off 211 balls while chasing 328 runs on day five of the fourth Test match. Although he scored the slowest fifty of his Test career, his dogged mindset broke the hosts resolve.
Cheteshwar Pujara was hit on the body at least 10 times off pacers Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood. However, he didn’t show any pain while on the crease except one time when the ball hit him on the gloves. Cheteshwar Pujara frustrated Australian bowlers and also amazed them with his grit. Before giving up his wicket, the right-hand batsman set up a strong base on which Rishabh Pant build up the match-winning knock.