India’s no.3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara is well known to take his time in the middle. The right-hander hasn’t had a fruitful last couple of years and has been under some pressure as he has an average in the mid-20s since 2019.
After the 2018-19 series against Australia in which he scored 521 runs in four Tests, Pujara hasn’t fired at all cylinders.
In fact, a lot of cricket experts have raised questions on Pujara’s mundane strike rate as he sometimes gets bog down at one end. However, Pujara was able to hit the ground running in the second innings of the Leeds Test and scored a crucial knock of 91 runs to get back in form.
Pujara once again started in an aggressive manner in the second essay of the Oval Test match and scored a fine knock of 61 runs. The right-hander also suffered an ankle injury but kept going as he didn’t throw in the towel. Pujara added a fine alliance of 154 runs with Rohit Sharma for the second wicket and helped put India in the driver’s seat.
Pujara has played a different approach altogether in the last two matches and former Indian wicket-keeper batsman Deep Dasgupta stated that Pujara has looked a different batsman.
Deep Dasgupta said while talking to BBC Test match special, “The last couple of innings, he has looked a different batter altogether. A lot more proactive playing his shots. Today, he played that ramp as well. I don’t remember him playing that shot at all. That says a lot about the mindset and confidence in that dressing room.”
“Credit to him, under pressure, he has kind of rediscovered himself. Maybe that was good in a way, that he was kind of forced to get out of his comfort zone. Again, credit to him, after so many years and after getting so much of success, he has kind of done that again (rediscovering himself).”
Meanwhile, Rohit and Pujara were dismissed in the same over by Ollie Robinson when England took the second new ball. Rohit was dismissed on an innocuous delivery whereas Pujara was sent back to the pavilion as the ball nipped back into him to take the inside edge off the back thigh to the third slip.
“Till the second new ball was taken, they were looking really comfortable. Rohit and Pujara, it was all really calm and easy for India. Especially that 81st over, that just changed everything around. Suddenly this game looks a little closer than it was at that point in time.”