"They gifted him a start" - Michael Vaughan slams England seamers for giving freebies to Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara scored swiftly on his way to 90* on Day 3
Cheteshwar Pujara scored swiftly on his way to 90* on Day 3

Former England captain Michael Vaughan criticized the England seamers for bowling far too many loose deliveries at Cheteshwar Pujara when he was new at the crease. He reckons the quick start alleviated all the pressure off Pujara, who is coming off a string of low scores.

The England seamers seemed intent on attacking Pujara’s stumps when he trundled out into the middle. They bowled a lot on his pads and Pujara took full advantage of it. Five out of his first seven shots were boundaries and he scored the first 22 runs from just 28 deliveries.

Michael Vaughan stated that Pujara would have been nervous coming into bat, but the boundaries early in his innings would have helped him rediscover himself.

“They gifted him (Cheteshwar Pujara) a start. He is a great player, averages 45 in Test cricket. It doesn’t take too long for really good players to get back into that belief in themselves. He would have been terribly nervous today."
"He knows that he needs runs and before he knew, he was on 20. He played a few nice flicks through the on-side and he thought, that’s nice, that’s enjoyable. When the batting is tough and you are going out there just for survival, it’s not enjoyable,” Michael Vaughan said in BBC’s Test Match Special podcast.

Cheteshwar Pujara remained not out on 91 runs at the close of play. Skipper Virat Kohli is at the other end, not out on 45 runs.

"India are miles behind the game" - Michael Vaughan believes the pressure will start to tell when India get closer to the lead

Cheteshwar Pujara (L) and Virat Kohli have built a solid stand on Day 3
Cheteshwar Pujara (L) and Virat Kohli have built a solid stand on Day 3

Michael Vaughan commended India’s efforts on Day 3 of the Leeds Test against England but added that they are still miles behind in the game.

India batted on the third day without worrying about the scoreboard. However, Michael Vaughan believes they will start feeling the pressure as they get close to England’s total.

“India are miles behind the game. They need to make another 139 runs to make England bat again. But if India are still there at lunch, maybe they lose one in that opening session to the new ball. Then you start to think, probably get 80 in that session. Then that pressure actually comes on to them because they might start to think if we are 150 in front. At the minute, they are just batting with no real thought of what could happen. They are just batting," Michael Vaughan added.

After conceding a lead of 354 runs in the first innings, India fought their way back to 215/2 at the end of Day 3. They still trail by 139 runs with two days of play remaining.

Edited by Diptanil Roy
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