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Pujara’s slow innings cost India at Adelaide?

By Bet Barter

December 21, 2020

There could not have been a better start for Australia coming into the 1st Test Series against India. The young and inexperienced duo of Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal were assigned a huge responsibility to provide India with the perfect start against Australia. Two balls in the match and Prithvi Shaw saw the stumps battered by Mitchell Starc. Shaw’s slow foot movement was no match for the left arm pacer as he got out for a duck.

Prior to Shaw’s dismissal, India’s most experienced Test batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara stepped in to take the stage. However, Pujara couldn’t quite fetch runs for the Indian team. Instead, his batting seemed too defensive at times.

Pujara got dismissed for 43 off 160 balls. Surprisingly, Nathan Lyon dismissed the Indian batsman. This is a little astonishing because Pujara has a history of playing spin well. He's known to capitalize upon the spinners.

It is understandable that a batsman would want to defend his wicket when it comes to the Test format. However, Pujara should have rotated the strike with Kohli, who seemed a little offensive in the 1st innings. This could also push the Australian bowlers to bowl differently, as both Kohli and Pujara pose different challenges.

Pujara played a little slower than expected

As per statistics, Pujara was on road to score his slowest fifty ever. Furthermore, Pujara amassed his 1st boundary of the innings at the 148th ball he faced. This clearly highlighted the lackluster approach from the Indian batsman.

Moreover, prior to Pujara’s dismissal, India seemed to pose a much greater threat. With Rahane and Kohli, the Australians were finally under some pressure in the 1st innings. The duo pounced on almost every loose delivery coming their way. Most importantly, Kohli and Rahane were not guilty of rotating the strike.

It could be possible that Kohli’s dismissal put Australia in the driver’s seat. However, one would not refrain from agreeing that Pujara’s sluggishness pumped wind into Australia’s sails. It would be unfair to ask Pujara to change his batting style immediately. But, when it comes to the Day-Night format, even the smallest mistakes will get you punished severely.

Pujara, who is known as India’s cornerstone in the Test format, was not at his best in the 1st innings. For India to stand a chance against the Aussies, Pujara will have to pull up his socks and play with a little more enthusiasm.

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