Pujara’s patience proves to be virtue
CHETESHWAR Pujara’s achilles heel – a sluggish strike-rate – turned trump card against Australia as the Indian No.3 soaked up a ton of pressure and time in Adelaide yesterday – just as his teammates couldn’t.
Pujara made a defiant 123 and proved to be India’s rock, displaying mercurial powers of concentration that contrasted with a side cut down by impetuous stroke-play against some high-calibre Australian bowling.
Originally hyped as India’s replacement for legend Rahul Dravid, Pujara was the only wall Australia’s attack encountered on day one, producing a 16th Test century despite being affected by hamstring cramps.
India was 9-250 at stumps with Pujara run out off the last ball of the day by a piece of brilliant fielding from an exhausted Pat Cummins.
Pujara has regularly been dressed down by Virat Kohli and team management for his tardy strike-rate despite boasting a Test average of 50.
He has never had an easy ride and was forced to wait six first-class seasons before making his Test debut.
Pujara was dropped for the third Test against the West Indies at Port of Spain in 2016 due to a series strike-rate of 26.
Indian concerns over Pujara’s lack of “intent” saw the 30-year-old dropped for the first Test against England at Edgbaston in August.
Yet the kid who grew up using mattress cut-outs as pads during practice sessions with his father delivered a seriesopening triumph of substance over style in Adelaide.
Battling an elite attack over five hours and 246 balls defined a batsman of true resilience and quality.
“Class is permanent and he has shown that over time,” said Fox Sports commentator Shane Warne of Pujara.