“It’s Not Enough But…”: Cheteshwar Pujara’s Cautious Optimism Despite Australia Chasing Just 76
At the end of the second day’s play of the ongoing third Test against Australia in Indore, India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said that the surface was difficult to bat on and one needs to rely on his defence, go to the pitch of the ball and Measure the length. Quick. Nathan Lyon took eight wickets as Australia bundled out India for 163 in the second innings, leaving the visitors just 76 runs away from victory in the third Test at the Holkar Cricket Stadium on Thursday.
Pujara said after the end of the match, “It’s a tough pitch to bat on. It’s not easy and you need to rely on your defence. Day’s play.
He said though a target of 76 was not enough, India still had a chance to win and there was a need to strike the right balance between attack and defense on such pitches.
“I know it is not enough but still, there is a chance (to win). You need to do that on such pitches, if you keep defending there is a ball that will bounce and hit your glove. Will hit, you need to find.” Perfect balance between attack and defence. Whenever I got a loose delivery, I tried to put it away. When he (Lyon) bowled around the wicket, his line changed a bit, he was bowling on the middle and leg-stump line instead of off-stump, I just wanted to rotate the strike,” the middle-order legend he said.
“I wanted to hit it towards square leg but due to the slowness of the surface, it took the ball to leg slip. It was a brilliant catch from Smith. A bit disappointed, the way things were coming together.. Axar K With a partnership, we could have got a few more shots. I am learning a few more shots and if there is a situation or demand, you get some quick runs, I am working on that and I am sure whenever I can play big shots,” Pujara concluded.
India could only bat for 60.3 overs in the second innings of the third Test, with Pujara putting up a lone fight for the hosts, before Nathan Lyon took eight for just 64 runs.
The hosts resumed their innings at 79/4 after tea, with Cheteshwar Pujara on 36* and Shreyas Iyer still 9 runs behind to open his account.
India started the session on a positive note with Iyer hitting a six while Pujara hit a four off Matthew Kuhnmann in the second over after lunch.
Iyer took on the Australian bowlers, putting them under pressure with aggressive shots to turn the tide for the hosts.
The right-handed batsman fired up the Australian bowlers by hitting Nathan Lyon for two consecutive fours and hitting Kuhnmann for a six over mid-wicket and a four in the next over.
Pujara and Iyer were flourishing in the third session but Steve Smith brought Mitchell Starc into the attack after Kuhnmann was run out.
The move worked wonders for the visitors as the pacer was able to get rid of Iyer. The right-handed batsman played an aerial shot towards mid-wicket but Usman Khawaja took a brilliant catch and brought the curtains down on the batsman’s innings.
Iyer scored a blistering 26 off 27 balls and shared a 35-run partnership with Pujara for the fifth wicket.
Shrikar Bharat followed up cheaply adding three runs to the total. Lyon bowled peaches to hit the outside edge of the batsman and hit the top of the off stump to get him out for 3(8).
Ravichandran Ashwin and Pujara provided the resilience to the visitors’ fiery attack to put on a 22-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
India’s troublemaker Pujara brought up his half-century, holding one end against the Australian bowlers.
However, wickets continued to fall and Ashwin fell to Lyon for 16 (28). The wicket brought up the spinner’s fifty in the second innings, leaving India at 140/7.
A freak catch by Steve Smith got Pujara on the back foot after the Saurashtra batsman’s brilliant innings. The right-handed batsman played a blistering knock of 59 runs.
From there it was one-way traffic as the hosts lost their last two wickets in the space of eight runs. The Australian bowlers bundled out the hosts for 163, needing 76 runs in the second innings to win.
Nathan Lyon recorded his best figures in India, dismissing eight Indian batsmen and conceding just 64 runs.
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