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IND vs AUS 2020: "Pujara is the one who is going to win the game for India" - Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra believes that Cheteshwar Pujara might hold the key to India
Aakash Chopra believes that Cheteshwar Pujara might hold the key to India's success in the Melbourne Test.
Kartik Iyer
Modified 27 Dec 2020, 03:24 IST

Former opener Aakash Chopra has opined that Cheteshwar Pujara holds the key to India's success in the Boxing Day Test, as he could be the sheet-anchor around whom the batting would revolve.

He made this observation while reviewing the first day's play of the Melbourne Test between India and Australia, in a video shared on his Facebook page.

While talking about the Indian bowling effort, Aakash Chopra lauded Jasprit Bumrah for setting the ball rolling by dismissing Joe Burns with a perfect out-swinger, saying in this regard:

"Jasprit Bumrah has magic in his hands. It seems from his action that he will bowl all the balls as in-swingers. But he started with outswing. He has skill in his wrists, moved the ball away and dismissed Joe Burns."

The reputed commentator observed that Ajinkya Rahane made an inspired call by handing over the ball to Ravichandran Ashwin ahead of Mohammed Siraj.

"Matthew Wade was getting settled with Labuschagne, and it seemed there was some sanity coming from Australia's point of view. Ajinkya Rahane did an amazing job. He got Ravichandran Ashwin to bowl one change with the new ball when Mohammed Siraj was available," said Chopra.

Aakash Chopra opined that the off-spinner did not let his captain down by getting rid of Matthew Wade, saying in this regard:

"But Ravichandran Ashwin comes and dominates the proceedings. Wade was not confident in his defence and was thus not trying to defend at all. He tries to sweep every ball and then goes for a slog, with Jadeja taking a difficult catch running sidewards."

Chopra pointed out Ashwin continued his domination of Steve Smith by outsmarting the former Aussie captain once again.

"And then comes Steve Smith who used to be unstoppable. But nowadays Ravichandran Ashwin has his number in his pocket. He dismissed him in Adelaide with an outgoing delivery and here with an incoming one," observed Chopra.

Aakash Chopra also said that Jasprit Bumrah got the crucial wicket of Travis Head when he was looking to form a threatening partnership with Marnus Labuschagne, saying in this regard:

"When Travis Head and Labuschagne seemed to be troubling India, Jasprit Bumrah was called. He went round the stumps, dismissed Travis Head, and the match opens up again."

Aakash Chopra praised the excellent second spell bowled by Mohammed Siraj as well. The latter dismissed the well-set Labuschagne and Cameron Green for his first two wickets on his Test debut.

"Cameron Green comes, and what a spell Mohammed Siraj bowls. The first spell was okay, but after that the way he bowled was fabulous. He first bowled outswingers and then got the ball in to get Green leg-before. He got Labuschagne out on the leg trap, which was slightly lucky," opined Chopra.

Chopra lauded Ashwin for coming back into the attack to dismiss Tim Paine, his third wicket on a first-day grassy pitch, saying in this regard:

"Ashwin says he won't stay behind and gets Tim Paine out and exposed Australian batsmen's technique against spin. This pitch had 3 mm more grass than Adelaide, and Ashwin took three crucial wickets - Wade, Smith and Paine."

Aakash Chopra also highlighted that Bumrah dismantled the Aussie lower-order batting before Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Pat Cummins to end their innings.

"Jasprit Bumrah then comes and wipes off the tail, and Australia are dismissed for 195. India deserve applause for doing this on the first day after losing the toss. Jadeja also took one wicket, and debutant Siraj was very impressive," observed Chopra.

"Shubman Gill showed why he is a special talent" - Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra lauded Shubman Gill
Aakash Chopra lauded Shubman Gill's pleasing strokeplay.

Aakash Chopra observed that India got off to a disastrous start with the bat, losing Mayank Agarwal early and Shubman Gill not looking convincing either, observing in this regard:

"Starc is spitting fire and dismisses Mayank Agarwal in the first over. Shubman Gill also seemed that he would get out to every delivery and gets dropped as well."

However. the 43-year old was effusive in his praise for the debutant Gill's back-foot play.

"But after that Shubman Gill batted and showed why he is a special talent. He has time and is not getting hurried on the ball. He plays well of the back foot; whoever does that does an amazing job in international cricket," pointed out Chopra.

Aakash Chopra also said that Shubman Gill was at ease while playing Nathan Lyon and hoped that the youngster carries on the good work on the second day as well, saying in this regard:

"He defends the spinner with a long stride and then steps out to play the drive. He won the hearts; it was great to see him bat. The hope is he will do well tomorrow also. If we win tomorrow's day, we will win the match and make the series even."

Chopra signed off by stating that Cheteshwar Pujara could hold the key in India's attempt to square the Test series, saying in this regard:

"If Pujara stays, he is going to stonewall the attack. He is the one who is going to win the game for India. He should stand with patience and with him Gill, Rahane and Vihari will come and play their strokes."

While India did have an excellent first day in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, the visitors still have a long way to go before they establish their dominance in the match. The first session on the second day might provide a good indication of which way the encounter could be heading.

Published 27 Dec 2020, 03:24 IST
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