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Cheteshwar Pujara has been too good for us: Tim Paine

Australia are now in big danger of losing their first-ever Test series at home to India.

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Cheteshwar Pujara, on Friday, starred with the bat once again in the ongoing series, scoring a scintillating 193 to put India on top in the fourth Test against Australia. While the hosts have managed to keep usual suspect Virat Kohli under check to a certain extent, Pujara has been a thorn in their flesh throughout. He began the series with a fighting knock of 123 which eventually made the difference in India’s 31-run win.

In the second Test, Pujara failed to get going and India ended up losing the Test at Perth. But the right-hander bounced back in style in the third Test, scoring 106 as India beat the hosts by 137 runs and take an unassailable lead. Pujara, however, had saved his best for the last Test as he scored a brilliant ton to put India in the driver’s seat. The epic knock came off 373 balls as he once again made Australians toil hard under the sun.

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It only extended his domination over the hosts in the series. He has now become only the third Indian to score as many as three tons in a Test series in Australia. The Saurashtra star also joined a select list of players who have faced over 1,000 balls in a single Test series in Australia. He also became the first visiting player in the last 70 years to bat 300+ balls in an innings in consecutive Test matches in Australia. The feat was previously achieved by India’s Vijay Hazare when he faced more than 300 balls in both innings of the 1948 Adelaide Test match.

Tim Paine praises Pujara

A tired Australia skipper Tim Paine could not help but lavish praise on Pujara for his display. The wicketkeeper-batsman admitted that Pujara’s marathon knock completely wore down their bowling attack and also set the template for Rishabh Pant to score his hundred. India declared their innings on a mammoth 622 for 7 before the hosts ended the day on 24 for no loss.

“Pujara was again superb and he wore us down. He did what he always seems to do. He was extremely disciplined, extremely tough and he’s just hard to get out.

“That set the scene for Rishabh Pant to show his skill. I think in Test cricket you always have to except that (tough days). We had a few in Dubai as well. When you get wickets like this and batters playing as well as these guys are and you can’t move the ball it can be really, really difficult to get really good players out. We are finding that,” the keeper-skipper said.

Paine also praised Indian batsmen who made the home team toil on the field for the second game in a row.

“India made us bowl 170 overs in Melbourne, 160-odd again today. That takes its toll. We spoke about that right back in Adelaide, that’s something we wanted to do to their attack. We haven’t quite been able to do it and they’ve done it to ours.

“At the end of a long series, you can get some real rewards if you can make teams bowl lots and lots of overs. I think that’s what you saw late today.”

He went on reiterate how tough it is to dismiss Pujara once he is set. “With Pujara if you’re not swinging the ball he’s extremely hard to get out. Early in the innings, you’re trying to hit his stumps and his pad. In the form he’s in he’s not missing too many.

“When the wicket is like it is and you can’t swing the ball not many players miss them. He’s been really patient and disciplined around his off stump. He’s ground our bowlers down. We tried to bounce him. We’ve tried lots of different things. He’s faced about a million balls this series. We’ve tried wide of the stumps, at the stumps, Nathan Lyon’s been over and around, I don’t think there’s too many things we haven’t tried and he’s been too good for us,” said Paine.

Australia are now in big danger of losing their first-ever Test series at home to India. The hosts face a herculean task in saving their record and even if they manage to escape with a draw, India will win the series 2-1.

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