"He is almost scared to play a shot" - Allan Border slams Cheteshwar Pujara for slow innings

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara

Former Australia skipper Allan Border believes Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was "almost scared" to play with freedom against the Aussie pacers on day three of the third Test in Sydney.

The 65-year-old felt Pujara was trying to survive rather than take on the Australian bowlers. According to Border, the 32-year-old's slow batting put immense pressure on the rest of the Indian batting line-up.

Cheteshwar Pujara brought about his slowest Test fifty in India's first innings, as he took 174 balls to reach his milestone.

Speaking to, Allan Border explained how the right-hander's lack of intent to score had a negative impact on the visitors' batting performance.

"He (Cheteshwar Pujara) is almost scared to play a shot, isn't he? He is playing to survive rather than looking to score," Allan Border said.
"He's not had quite the same impact this series in that he's taken so long to score his runs, it's like he's stagnated at the crease and it has had a bit of a ripple effect through the Indian batting. They can't seem to get on top of Australia's bowling," he further added.

Bowling has been very good, Cheteshwar Pujara has been hard to get out: Allan Border

Pat Cummins celebrates after dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara
Pat Cummins celebrates after dismissing Cheteshwar Pujara

Allan Border heaped praise on the Aussie bowlers for restricting Team India to just 244, despite there being no help from the pitch for either spin or pace.

Though the hosts were helped by some careless run-outs from the visitors, Australia were accurate and patient with their line and length.

Cheteshwar Pujara had dominated the Australian bowling attack during the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, scoring 521 runs from four Tests with three centuries.

However, this time around, Australia's bowlers have been better prepared and not allowed Pujara to wear them down.

Border believes Pujara was just inviting trouble by not trying to score. He was eventually dismissed by Pat Cummins through a peach of a delivery.

"Credit where credit is due, the bowling has been very good and Australia haven't allowed them to get away. That's half the battle as well, the guy's been hard to get out but if the scoreboard is not moving, eventually you get your rewards," Border said.

Australia have ended day three in a dominant position at 103-2, and have a lead of 197 runs. Moreover, they have their two best batsmen in Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith at the crease, with the pair having already added 68 runs for the third wicket.

While these are ominous signs for Team India, they will be hopeful of winning the crucial first session on day four by picking up early wickets. The visitors will need to bat out of their skins to avoid defeat in Sydney.

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Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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