Pu­jara’s pa­tience proves to be virtue

The Cairns Post - - SPORT -

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.

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