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Pujara and the rest: What batsmen from both the teams should learn from Pujara

Naman Dave
CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
588   //    08 Dec 2018, 08:14 IST

Chesteshwar Pujara after scoring 123 runs at Adelaide on day 1 of the first Test
Chesteshwar Pujara after scoring 123 runs at Adelaide on day 1 of the first Test

The first two days of ongoing Test series against Australia and India totally belonged to bowlers of both the teams. Batsmen struggled to score runs in a batting friendly surface of Adelaide wherein any of the players played with patience, the story would have been different.

Apart from Cheteshwar Pujara, batsmen from both the teams failed to impress. Pujara’s knock made us remind Rahul Dravid's knock of 2003 at the same venue. If the batsmen of both the teams want to survive the heat of Australia then they must adopt the footsteps of Pujara.

There are a lot of things one can learn from Pujara’s pure and classical Test knock which is rarely seen from anyone nowadays. Pujara’s 123 runs off 246 balls with seven fours and two sixes at the strike rate of merely 50 show us how technically and temperamentally strong he is.

Australian wickets favour the fast bowlers since ages. The Adelaide surface looks batting friendly and therefore captain Kohli has chosen to bat first after winning the toss which seems appropriate at that time.

Indian batsmen failed miserably as first five wickets fell to rash shots. The patience of leaving the ball outside the off stump was missing completely.

Pujara, on the other end, played with utmost patience and responsibility which one can expect from a Test playing individual and kept the scoreboard ticking. He only scored on the balls which landed on his strong playing zone. The discipline was missed from the Indian side and therefore no other top-order batsmen apart from Pujara able to spend time at the crease.

At one point, Rohit Sharma seemed to be dangerous but the selection of bad shot that too in a Test match when there was a need of him to stay at the crease was a complete waste of his wicket and also questioned his selection over in form Hanuma Vihari. The display of groundstrokes from Pujara is the way of playing Test cricket, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant both should learn from him. You just can’t afford to lose your wicket in such a disastrous manner.

The tail completely failed to stay along with Pujara and that’s the only time when we saw him going for a calculated risk and saw him hitting two sixes on-hook at the fine leg boundary.

The score of 250 was not a big total to defend in Test cricket that too on a batting-friendly surface. Australians, when they came to bat. It seemed like they will easily score 400 plus runs but they made the same errors. Aaron Finch, the aggressive opener, tried to drive the ball which was nowhere near his body which cost him his precious wicket.

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Other Australians seemed confused while playing Ravi Ashwin's top-class off-spin bowling and ended up giving three wickets to him.

Pujara’s technique and strategy to play spin by using his feet is a lesson to learn for the batsmen of both the teams. How he played Nathan Lyon, who is another top-class off-spinner, by using his feet to attack and his backfoot to defend is a lesson which can save batsmen of both the teams in the coming games.

Test match is a test of three Ts i.e. Timing, Technique and Temperament. Whoever has these three things with him will definitely succeed in this format of the game.

If the batsmen of both the teams want to score more, then they must learn from Pujara’s innings. They should look to avoid playing balls outside the off-stump, choosing bad shots and must use their feet and backfoot while playing the spin.

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Naman Dave
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