Today marked the advent of the mouth-watering clash between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval. India’s Kohli won the toss after he had lost all five tosses in England. Kohli was in full flow with the bat in England but his form at toss was pathetic, to say the least. Today, he shone with the toss and failed with the bat. Yes, the man, India have greatly banked upon across formats didn’t quite stand up. Everyone in top seven failed as well barring India’s no.3 Cheteshwar Pujara.
Pujara’s gritty 246-ball 123 run-knock helped India reach 250 for nine after, at one stage, they were struggling at 86 for five. No other batsmen could even reach 40. Apart from Pant, all major batsmen were guilty of playing poor shots.
Let’s take a look at Three things that Indian batsmen can learn from Pujara’s Adelaide Master-Class:
A “Monk” Like Patience
The Indian no.3 didn’t score a run for 55 minutes on either side of lunch. That is typical Pujara for you. His patience is akin to a monk. Today, as well, he was unruffled at the crease. From the other end, one Indian batsman after another were biting the dust but here was Pujara in his own zone. He was willing to bat for long hours and he did just that. He left 34% of 246 balls he faced while on the other hand, the Indian batsmen left 24% of balls. He played the ball late and exhibited the perfect template of patience when batting in a Test match.
Just like the Southampton Test, Pujara showcased that he can bat aggressively with the tail. It is something which we generally don’t associate with Pujara but it is an aspect of the game that he can perform if the situation demands. He added 21 runs for the eight wicket with Ishant Sharma and 40 runs for the ninth wicket with Mohammed Shami. Pujara hit seven fours and two sixes in his enterprising knock. After completing his century, he scored his next 23 runs off just 15 balls. Pujara even blasted a six off Mitchell Starc. The Saurashtra batsman adjusted gears like a boss and unlike other Indian batsmen, put his foot down when there was a need of it than going for it unnecessarily
Pujara looked a very prepared man today. He had a game plan in mind. He left the ball, rotated the strike and played the pro-active game when needed. He had a plan against the four-man bowling attack of Australia. He played quite aggressively against Nathan Lyon, coming down the track often to put off Lyon’s length and kept the score moving. He was well aware that on a day that was as hot as 40 degrees, bowlers would become less sharp as they move on to their third and fourth spells. Given the fact, that he had no other choice as well with the tail around, it made his pursuit to attack during the closing hour of the day even more clear and reaped fruits for India. Unlike other batsmen, he wasn’t reckless and didn’t expect freebies and put top-notch application in a pressure situation.