Australia vs India 2018-19, 4th Test: 4 talking points from Day 2 in Sydney
After a terrific showing on the first day, India continued with their brilliant performance today as well, paving the way for a potential series win Down Under - the first in its history. At stumps on Day 2, Australia are at 24/0 while chasing India's first innings score of 622/7 declared.
Earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara added 63 more runs to his overnight score of 130, but fell agonizingly short of a double hundred. He broke several records across his mammoth innings, including the record of Rahul Dravid for most balls faced in a single series. He is also currently the top-scorer in the series, with all the other batsmen several notches below him in terms of runs made.
After Pujara and Hanuma Vihari departed, in came Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja who played on interminably to weather down the already-battered Aussie bowlers. Pant raced his way to 159*, his highest Test score and also his second overseas ton, all in a space of just nine Tests. Meanwhile, Jadeja missed out on a well-deserved hundred, falling prey to Nathan Lyon on 81, which also handed Kohli the cue to declare and expose the Aussie batsmen.
The hosts in turn had a torrid time on the pitch. India are well in control of the game now, and provided the hosts do not respond in miraculous fashion, the series has already been decided in favour of the men in blue.
Here are the key talking points from the day's play at Sydney:
#1 Cheteshwar Pujara finally gets the attention he deserves
The Saurashtra batsman was a well-recognized face in the Indian domestic circuit prior to his entry in the national team. Even in those days, he was being compared to Rahul Dravid in terms of attributes like patience and solidity in front of the wicket.
After Dravid retired, Pujara seemed to gel very easily into the No.3 slot as his replacement. But he had a lot of tough games early on, where he failed to perform well.
Disappointing returns in key overseas Test matches proved to be more forceful blows as the selectors even axed him from the team after a while. Yet Pujara buckled down and worked on his game, and today he is an indispensable part of the side.
In the ongoing game he has scored 193 runs from 373 balls, including 22 fours. The right mix of attacking when necessary coupled with an overall air of patience makes Pujara one of the most ideal batsmen in the format.
He has also officially broken Dravid's record of most balls faced in a single series, having faced 1258 balls already in the ongoing Aussie series. That is 209.4 overs all by himself, or in other words, more than two whole days of Test batting. Masterclass.