On the morning of the third day, Pujara continued batting on his overnight score of 9 off 53 balls. He notched his maiden landmark on this tour, 50 from the 174 balls, but kept losing partners at the other end. Ajinkya Rahane was the first to go, inside edging a Pat Cummins delivery on to his stumps, Hanuma Vihari ran himself out, and Rishabh Pant, looking for some quick runs, edged one to David Warner in slips.
Three balls after Pant’s wicket, Pat Cummins dismissed Pujara with a jaffa – Cummins got the better of Pujara for the fourth time in 5 innings this series.
Despite scoring 50 runs – the joint highest score in India’s first innings – by enduring the Aussie bowling at its best and loss of batsmen at the non-striker’s end, Pujara is receiving criticism for his slow approach – the right-hander recorded his slowest Test fifty – and is being blamed for pressure compounding on his batting partners.
You can’t bat so slow, cricket has changed: Pragyan Ojha
Pragyan Ojha feels that Pujara should have shown more intent being a senior batsman. The off-spinner points out that the right-hander won India the series on the previous tour down under. However, Pragyan Ojha opines that this time Pujara shouldn’t bat so slowly as the game has changed a lot in the past couple of years.
“Cheteshwar Pujara, being the most senior member of the side, it’s important, he shows that intent. He was the one who inspired us to win the 2018 series. But now, everybody is questioning his intent. You can’t bat so slow, cricket has changed,” Pragyan Ojha told Sports Today.
Pujara’s strike rate was 41 in that series which is down to 27 in the ongoing series. That he hasn’t converted his starts to a big score is the major reason for his decreased scoring rate. The cricketer-turned-commentator reckons that lack of runs or lack of quick runs from India’s number 3 adds up pressure on his batting partners.
“You’re playing a Test match, people are batting at a certain strike rate. That’s what you have to maintain. You have to maintain that pace, you can’t go below that pace. If you do that, your team will face consequences. That’s what India had to go through sadly,” Pragyan Ojha added.