Australia fast-bowler Pat Cummins has explained how he considered Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket as his biggest scalp once Virat Kohli left for home after the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Kohli returned home after the Adelaide Test to attend the birth of his first child. After his departure, all eyes were on Pujara as the onus was on him to lead with the bat.
Pujara was the highest run-scorer when India had won their first-ever Test series on the Australian soil during the 2018/19 season. In a series where no other batsmen managed to touch even the 400-run mark, Pujara scored 521 runs with the help of 3 centuries and one fifty. No surprises then, that Cummins considered Pujara his biggest challenge once Kohli departed.
The right-arm pacer won the duel too as in eight innings, Cummins dismissed Pujara five times. It, however, did not stop India from winning the four-match series and retain the Border-Gavaskar series. As far as Pujara’s returns are concerned, he scored 271 runs with the help of three crucial fifties.
“Once we knew Virat (Kohli) was going to miss the last three Tests, (Cheteshwar Pujara) was the big wicket for me. He was the deciding factor in the series a couple of years earlier – he was their rock in the middle order – and I felt a big part of the series battle would be played out against him.” Cummins said in an interview with Cricket Monthly.
“After the first two games, in some ways, I thought he might have had to adapt to try to take the game on a little bit more and put pressure back on the bowlers. But if anything, he went the other way. He went, “No, I know my game so well, I’m going to just bat and bat and scoring will take care of itself,” he added.
Pat Cummins on Cheteshwar Pujara’s defiance in Brisbane:
Pat Cummins further opened up on Cheteshwar Pujara’s defiance on the final day of the fourth Test in Brisbane. In an order to unsettle the India’s number three on the crucial day, the Australian bowlers led by Cummins himself peppered Pujara with short deliveries. As a result, the right-handed batsman coped several painful blows on his body but made sure to keep his wicket intact. Cummins admitted that Pujara’s defiance took the sting out of the bowling.
“You feel like you’re getting closer to a wicket each time they cop a bruise, and like they’re going to have to change their game and start fending or take the game on a bit more. So for someone to stay with their process the whole time, it does take the sting out of that short ball a bit,” said Cummins.
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