The four-match Test series between India and Australia in 2017 was one of the most competitive series in recent times. The series dished out some memorable moments for the fans as both the teams were eager to prove their dominance on the field. Visitors Australia, under the leadership of Steve Smith, almost toppled the Indian side to pull off a historic series win. Recently, R Ashwin and Cheteshwar Pujara recalled the memories of the second Test.
After clinching the first Test of the series, Steve Smith and his men were eager to win the second Test as well. India was already under the pressure after losing the first Test at Pune. To make things worse for the hosts Virat Kohli and his men were bundled out for 189 in first innings of the 2nd Tests as Nathan Lyon scalped eight wickets to decimate their batting force.
Furthermore, Aussies only managed to reach the total of 276 runs in their first innings on the back of half-centuries from Shaun Marsh and Matt Renshaw. Another loss was looming over India’s head but it was Cheteshwar Pujara’s gritty 92-run knock in the second innings which made the difference. Pujara (92) and Rahane (52) steered India to a total of 274 and in reply, Australia was only managed to reach a total of 112 in the second innings. Ashwin played a crucial role in India’s 75-run victory as he scalped six wickets in the final innings of the Test.
Ashwin and Pujara, on Monday, recollected memories from that emphatic victory. Reminiscing the match-winning partnership with Rahane, Pujara said that he felt pressure when he walked out to bat in the second innings. Cheteshwar said Australian players were sledging the Indian duo as if they had already won the match.
Pujara recalled, “For me, I think the first Test match… when we lost, all of us sat together and had a chat. In a 4-Test series, it’s always difficult to make a comeback after being 1-0 down. In the 1st innings (Bengaluru Test), we didn’t bat well. So when I was walking into it, I felt a lot of pressure. But after the 1st innings, Anil bhai (Kumble) had a chat with me on how to tackle Nathan Lyon. I went to the NCA and worked on a few things which helped me.”
He further elaborated, “But I felt pressure when I walked into a bat (2nd innings). The kind of sledging they did… I thought they were a little ahead of what they wanted to achieve. Their thought process was… they felt they had already won the game. By Teatime, I was with Ajinkya (Rahane), we were coming into the dressing room and they were sledging as if they had won the game. That is when things did turn around, I felt.”