The value of Cheteshwar Pujara’s resistance, the stoute resistance, was immediately felt when India, who were in total control of the match at 153 for three with a lead of 280 runs, lost their way and the moment the dependable batter fell, the floodgates opened for team England. From 152 for three, it became 198 for six with Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Shardul Thakur following him to the pavilion with shots they would like to forget.
When Pujara bats, it seems like a different Test is in progress, but the solidity he adds to the team is unmatchable. India, who had got a sizeable lead, needed someone like him to hold one end and that’s what Pujara did batting for 168 balls, almost for 28 overs. In England, the Dukes ball gets soft after 40 overs and batting becomes easy after it loses its hardness and offers less help for the seamers. And that’s what Pujara did, soften the ball as well as tire the English fast bowlers. His defence was immaculate and he knew where is off-stump was and was playing the ball on merit, not giving an inch to the English bowlers.
This style of batting with a strike rate of 40 might be boring for the new generation fans, who want fast-paced cricket and want to see boundaries and sixes flowing every over. But that’s not what Test cricket is all about. It’s about your temperament, especially in England where one needs to respect the moving and seaming deliveries.
The Wall's influence
India’s current coach Rahul Dravid was a prime example of it and that’s why he was called as The Wall of Indian Cricket. Pujara, his prodigy who is known to block until the cow comes home and tire out the bowlers, a Warrior who takes blows on every part of his body, but puts a price on his wicket.
It is the likes of Virat Kohli and Pant, who get the limelight because of their flamboyant play, but it is Pujara who is the unsung hero of the team as he holds the guard for the longest time.