Former Australian left-arm unorthodox spinner Brad Hogg believes Indian Test mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara was successful in wearing down the hosts' pace attack in the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
The 32-year-old scored 50 runs off 176 balls in the first innings and 77 off 205 in the second in Sydney. By playing so many deliveries, Cheteshwar Pujara managed to take the sting out of the Aussie quicks.
Pujara was severely criticized for his defensive batting en route to his slowest Test half-century in the first innings. But in a video on Brad Hogg's YouTube channel, the 49-year-old explained how the right-handed batsman's grit and determination helped India negate the threat from the Australian pacers.
"The way that Cheteshwar Pujara just chewed up balls in both the first and the second innings wore that Australian pace attack down. It helped the Australians not to have that venom in the final stages of Day 5. You could see their pace on the radar dropping off. So well done to Pujara there," Brad Hogg said.
Brad Hogg also priased Cheteshwar Pujara for playing Nathan Lyon brilliantly
Brad Hogg also heaped praise on Pujara for the way he played Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon. With 396 Test wickets to his name, Lyon is one of the best spinners of the modern era. Thus, he was expected to be dangerous on a Day 5 SCG pitch.
But Cheteshwar Pujara used his feet well against Lyon, forcing the bowler to constantly change his line and length. The off-spinner couldn't quite beat the defence of Pujara as the Indian batsman handled the 33-year-old smartly.
Brad Hogg stressed on how Pujara's long vigil almost nullified the venom of the Australian bowling attack. The hosts couldn't bowl out the Indian team, despite having 131 overs to have a crack at the visitors.
Hogg believes players like Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin benefited from Cheteshwar Pujara's marathon innings. The duo consumed another 259 balls as Team India successfully drew the SCG Test.
"Also, the way that Cheteshwar Pujara played Nathan Lyon for a long period of time. He wasn't just stuck at the crease. He was prepared to use his feet, get as far forward as he possibly could, and take the LBW out of the equation as well as the bat-pad by letting the ball hit the middle of the pad and keeping his bat away from the ball. Good methodology there from Pujara," Brad Hogg asserted.
Although India's injury woes keep piling up, with Jasprit Bumrah being the latest addition to the list, the visitors will take a lot of courage from their fighting performance in Sydney.
The hosts, on the other hand, will ponder what could have been had they held on to their catches on the final day. However, the fourth Test will be played at the Gabba in Brisbane and Australia haven't lost there since 1988.
Will their proud record in Brisbane, coupled with the visitors' depleted resources give the Aussies a psychological advantage? Who will hold their nerves to clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy? This emphatic series just continues to thrill one and all.Published 12 Jan 2021, 12:40 IST