Visiting team India are currently in a dominant position in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne. This is because they have scored a mammoth score of 443 runs in the first innings.
Skipper Virat Kohli scored 82 from 204 balls, despite suffering from a back injury. However it was Cheteshwar Pujara’s magnificent knock of 106 runs from 319 balls that hogged all the limelight.
Pujara showed extreme grit and determination and stayed in the middle for over 100 overs. It eventually took a beauty of a delivery from Pat Cummins to get Pujara out.
It was debutant Mayank Agarwal who set the standards at the beginning. After Agarwal was nipped by Cummins, Pujara and Kohli put a partnership of 170 runs. This partnership was the main reason that Tim Paine and Co. went to the backfoot.
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Ponting takes a dig at Pujara’s slow knock
However former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting criticised Pujara for his slow knock. He said that Pujara doesn’t seem to be concerned about scoring runs. Moreover Punter have also expressed his doubts that Pujara’s innings might cost India the match.
“If India go on and win the game, it’ll be a great innings (but) if they haven’t got time to bowl Australia out twice it could be what actually costs them the game. He’s just made another hundred, his second of the series, so he’s playing well and doesn’t really look like getting out. But he just locks himself in this little bubble where scoring doesn’t seem to faze him at all,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“They’ve got other guys in their side who are stroke-makers but if those guys don’t come off, the scoring rate is always going to be hovering around that two runs an over mark, which makes it pretty hard to win Test matches, especially on flat wickets like we might have here. I think it’s always hard for India to push the run rate along when Pujara’s there,” he added.
Pujara is currently the leading run-scorer in the four-match Test series. The right-handed batsman from Saurashtra have scored 328 runs from five innings at an impressive average of 65.60.
His highest score till now is 123, which he made in the first Test at the renowned Adelaide Oval. India won that match by 31 runs and Pujara was awarded the Man of the Match.