Indian cricketer Cheteshwar Pujara played a saviour role for the Indian cricket team on the opening day of the four-match Test series against the hosts Australia at Adelaide. While the other batsmen struggled against the Aussie bowlers, the 30-year-old Indian right-handed batsman Pujara played a brilliant century knock that helped the visitors to manage at least a fighting first innings total.
After winning the toss on Thursday morning, Indian skipper Virat Kohli decided to bat first but they had a very poor start as they were struggling on 41/4. Both the openers KL Rahul (2) and Murali Vijay (11) were dismissed cheaply, while Usman Khawaja grabbed a stunning catch at gully to dismiss the no.1 ranked Test batsman Virat Kohli (3) at the early stage. Ajinkya Rahane also followed them after scoring just 13 runs.
Later, Pujara had two back-to-back 40+ partnerships with Rohit Sharma (37) and Rishabh Pant (25) but both lost their wickets after getting settled down as India was struggling on 127/6.
After that, Pujara had a fighting 62-run partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin for the seventh wicket that helped India to build up at least a fighting first innings total. During that partnership, Pujara completed his half-century in 153 balls at the early third session of the day.
Though Ashwin was dismissed on 25 runs off 76 balls (only four), Pujara continued his innings with the tail-enders, who provided a good support to him. After a 21-run partnership for the eighth wicket with Ishant Sharma, Pujara had another 40-run partnership with Mohammed Shami for the ninth wicket before losing his own wicket at the end of the day.
Despite the other wickets were falling in regular intervals since the morning, Pujara hardly lost his concentration and consistently focused to build up a respectable first innings team total on the board. Apart from providing a few tough chances, Pujara never seemed to lose his wicket on this special day.
Soon, after the second new ball was taken, Pujara completed his century in 231 balls. Since then, he played some attacking shots and scored the runs quickly. Finally, he was run-out on 123 runs off 246 balls (7 fours and 2 sixes) after a brilliant direct hit by Pat Cummins. Umpires called off the day just after his dismissal as India was batting on 250/9 and Shami was batting on 6 runs.
Just a ball before completing his 16th Test century, Pujara completed his 5,000 Test runs in his 108 Test innings. Co-incidentally, Pujara has reached the milestones of 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 Test runs in the same number of innings that had been reached by the former Indian batsman Rahul Dravid (67, 84 and 108 innings respectively).
Here are some Twitter reactions on Pujara’s heroic batting effort:
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) December 6, 2018
It was a gritty innings from @cheteshwar1 under the circumstances. Congratulations to you on your brilliant century. Looking forward to many more knocks like this in the series. #AUSvIND #FightOfMight pic.twitter.com/MwhPN8BGW3
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) December 6, 2018
— VINOD KAMBLI (@vinodkambli349) December 6, 2018
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) December 6, 2018
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) December 6, 2018
An outstanding knock! https://t.co/SQ57qMl55f
— Jason Gillespie 🌱🌈 (@dizzy259) December 6, 2018
Pujara wasn’t a part of the build-up narrative….India or Australia. It’s only fair that he dominates the first day of this #AusvInd Test series. Love it.
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 6, 2018
Wonderful wonderful innings from Cheteshwar Pujara. Classy, resilient, tenacious….all these old-world virtues. This was the gold standard of test match batting.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 6, 2018
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) December 6, 2018
Terrific innings from Pujara or “Steve” as the Yorkshire men called him as they couldn’t pronounce his first name Cheteshwar ! Congrats on a great 💯 👍
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) December 6, 2018
— Suresh Raina🇮🇳 (@ImRaina) December 6, 2018
No Indian batsman had scored a first day century in the first test of a series in Australia. However, what is more remarkable is Pujara didn't lose his head when all we're losing's theirs.#AUSvIND #CheteshwarPujara
— Vimal Kumar (@Vimalwa) December 6, 2018
Pujara 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 💯 brilliant innings!
— Michael Clarke (@MClarke23) December 6, 2018
— Damien Fleming (@bowlologist) December 6, 2018
— Harsh Sukhadia (@Harsh__Sukhadia) December 6, 2018
So True, #CheteshwarPujara Is not getting the value and honor which he deserves.
And I feel the reason is, he is not part of any IPL Team.
— Augie Singh (@Im_Augy) December 6, 2018
Brand of cricket shown by #CheteshwarPujara ..we (on the behalf of indian fans)belive on you…keep believing yourself guys and it's just an one good patner ship which will change the whole interface of the…The faith will remain foreever on indian cricket team foreever #vkohli
— Rakesh Ranjan kar (@ImRakadon) December 6, 2018
This innings by @cheteshwar1 is a result of "TAPASYA" he did on the pitch today.These 123 runs are not as big as a 300 in a test match in terms of numbers but very huge in terms of value proposition it offered to the team at the end.#CheteshwarPujara #INDvsAUS #ChhodnaMat
— Raunak Pradhan (@raunak2611) December 6, 2018
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Criticized for his slow SR proved how a test inning is built. Shown immense character, patience. Surely he has taken his team out of trouble but still a lot to be played. Top notch stuff. Test is best. #INDvAUS #CheteshwarPujara @vikrantgupta73 pic.twitter.com/dNylTBZheT
— harshit jaiswal (@hj_rocks2k16) December 6, 2018
Completes 5000 runs and scores his first ton down under. 💯
While every other wicket was falling apart, he was watching it from the other end with dismay, but he just stood there, performed and fought back.@cheteshwar1 @BCCI @ICC #AUSvsIND #PujaraCentury #CheteshwarPujara pic.twitter.com/uLKf6O8eiY
— Bhargav Vachhani (@imbvachhani) December 6, 2018
CHUFFED for my buoy @cheteshwar1 . Proper hard fought test hundred. Feels good when a good bloke like him gets all the attention. Dug India out of the hole. His best hundred so far given the situation and the bowling attack. Proudly put your feet up #CheteshwarPujara #INDvsAUS
— Nishant Patel (@patel_nishu) December 6, 2018
While 41/4 was never a good start, #TeamIndia managed to make it to 250/9 at the end of the day due to a classic #CheteshwarPujara innings. But what pleased me more was the fact that the tail wagged and gave him ample support especially Ashwin @ashwinravi99. #AUSvIND #AUSvsIND
— Kartik O (@KOCricket528) December 6, 2018
— Suyash Srivastava (@Syu4u) December 6, 2018
Can't believe we're still going to reach that bare minimum mark of 250 after the shambolic show of the top order.
— tarun bharadia (@TarunBharadia) December 6, 2018