Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar felt that had Cheteshwar Pujara stayed at the crease for a bit longer, India might not have suffered such a huge defeat. He opined that Pujara’s wicket was a big setback for the Indian team, as they tried to chase down 420 runs in the 4th innings of the first Test match against England in Chennai.
England, who made 578 and 178 in two innings, set India a tough target on a pitch that had started turning sharply and a ball, which had degraded in quality quite quickly. However, the top order of the Indian team barring Shubman Gill (50) and Virat Kohli (72), failed to make substantial contributions to the cause.
Rohit Sharma (12), Cheteshwar Pujara (15), Rishabh Pant (11), and Ajinkya Rahane (1) all fell to the guile of Jack Leach and the skill of James Anderson, who shared 7 wickets in between them.
Didn’t expect India to give up so tamely, Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket was a huge setback: Sunil Gavaskar
During an interview with Aaj Tak, Sunil Gavaskar was asked if he has expected the Indian team to give up so easily.
“Definitely not, because of the stubbornness and heart the Indian team had shown in the Sydney Test, it seemed even if they lose they will take the match to the last few overs. Cheteshwar Pujara’s early dismissal was the biggest setback for India as he was dismissed in the first half an hour itself,” said Gavaskar.
Calling Cheteshwar Pujara, the Indian team’s stabilizing factor, the former cricketer-turned-commentator, mentioned that he soaks up the pressure, making things easy for other batsmen.
“He has the ability to keep the team together and the way he bats, the bowlers have to think what extra they need to do and because of that tension they are not able to bowl properly to the batsmen at the other end,” added Sunil Gavaskar.
Shubman Gill, Ajinkya Rahane, and Rishabh Pant getting out in quick succession primary reason for defeat: Sunil Gavaskar
James Anderson removed opener Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane in the same over, as Rahane’s poor form continued with him making 1 and 0 in the Test match. A couple of overs later, he induced a false shot from Pant as well and any hopes of India saving the game were gone.
“So, when he got out early it was necessary that there was a good partnership but that did not happen because after that Shubman Gill got out after a few runs and Ajinkya Rahane also got out in the same over. If half the team is back in the pavilion at lunchtime, with only 110 runs on the board, it is difficult to save the match,” pointed out Gavaskar.
However, Gavaskar hoped that India will make a strong comeback in the second Test to be also played in Chennai as well, and starting from February 13 onwards.