Not having a century with his bat since the 2019 Sydney New Year Test, Pujara averages 28 in his last 28 Tests. This is 30 percent of his career in which he averages 28. It is not that he was not contributing. Important hands were: 77 in the historic Test in Brisbane, 77 in the Test in Sydney as well – both surprisingly hedged innings that averted defeat. At the same time his tenacity allowed the other batsmen to play freely and helped them register a win. His knock of 45 at Lord’s last year also came at a very crucial time.
Kumar Sangakkara informed about Cheteshwar Pujara’s new change on air. He has changed his stance a bit and is playing for a while, which means allowing the ball to come to him. Quantitatively, it was no different in how many balls he had left in England in his last nine Tests – he gave up about 30 per cent of the balls he faced.
The intention in running was to return the pace, if not always. Two back-foot punches off Broad and Ben Stokes were among his few boundaries, the shot where Pujara is probably at his most beautiful. Other than that, everything else was present and perfect: play-and-miss, soft hands to hit the edges, wearing a pair of gloves on—which required a long treatment for a severed finger.
In England this summer, run-scoring in Tests has mostly come after 30 overs of the new ball, when the ball has softened and the middle order has changed gears and redeemed. But not Pujara: He plays with a rhythm. However, James Anderson troubled Cheteshwar Pujara a bit and Stokes’ coming in later also seemed to distract a bit.
“He is a warrior,” said Mohammed Siraj, praising him at the end of the day. “He showed in Australia and he did it here too. When the team needs it, he just has that attitude. When it’s a tough situation, he wants to stand up,” he added.