Former Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan has heaped praise on Cheteshwar Pujara for his valiant effort with the bat on the penultimate day.
Pujara has been under the pump for his poor form but he was able to show all the resistance and gumption as he scored 45 runs off 206 balls to keep England at bay.
India was in a rut as they were 55-3 but Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, both out of form, showed the stomach for a fight. Both the Indian experienced batsmen added 100 runs for the fourth wicket partnership and kept their team in the contest.
On the other hand, Pujara had to battle hard as he got off the mark on his 35th ball and received a loud cheer from the crowd. Pujara scored only 12 runs in his first 100 balls and he was on 40 after facing 200 balls. Thus, the veteran batsman had to sweat hard for his runs and he didn’t throw in the towel despite short ball tactics from the England bowlers.
Pujara got a peach of a delivery from Mark Wood, which ended his resilience at the crease. However, Pujara tried his best and he along with Rahane avoided the batting collapse of the team. This knock will certainly add some confidence to India’s number 3 as he has been struggling to stay at the crease.
“If you look at Pujara’s knock today, he has done exactly what was required of him. The importance of his innings as well as that partnership (with Rahane) was immense because you had lost three quick wickets with the new ball. The wicket on the fourth day is never easy and from that point of view, Pujara played the role that was needed from him. He even got dismissed on an unplayable delivery,” Zaheer Khan opined on Cricbuzz.
However, after Pujara’s dismissal, Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed after scoring a good knock of 61 runs by Moeen Ali. Furthermore, India received another blow as Ravindra Jadeja was cleaned by Moeen Ali. Thus, the late three strikes helped England bounce back in the second Test match.
India currently lead by 154 runs with four wickets and the onus will be on Rishabh Pant on the final day. On the other hand, England will want quick wickets to stamp their authority on the last day.