Indian skipper Virat Kohli described Cheteshwar Pujara’s innings as “priceless” after the visitors won the first Test at Adelaide. Pujara pulled India out of the mess of 86 for 5 to 250 in the first innings by scoring 123.
In the second innings he scored 71 and stitched an important partnership with Ajinkya Rahane in the middle order. As a result it helped India to set a target of 323. It was the first time that Pujara scored a century and a fifty in the same Test.
Kohli and his men had to wait a bit longer to take all the Aussie wickets in the fifth morning. Eventually they managed to get them out for 291. This win meant that it is the first time that India won the first Test in the Australian tour.
“We were down and out at lunch on day one. His belief, grit and determination kept us in the game, he brought us back beautifully,” Kohli said after the match. “The game was poised equally on day two. We knew runs on the board, their position playing at home, they’ll obviously be a bit tentative and we cashed in on that. Any lead would have been gold and we built on that (with) a couple of partnerships in the second innings, particularly Pujara and Rahane. When they bat together like that they are our most solid pair. They gave us that safety for the bowlers to go out and get ten wickets. It took grit and determination from both of them to put us past Australia where it was hard for them to chase that total down.”
Tim Paine also praises Pujara
Tim Paine, the Aussie skipper, also acknowledged that Pujara proved the difference between both the teams.
“Pujara was probably the difference between the two sides,” he said. “It’s what you want from your top 5-6 batters, hundreds and a (playing) lot of balls into our bowlers as well. He made us work very hard to get him out and we can take a lot from that for our batting group.”
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Kohli also said that Pujara-Rahane partnership should be an example for all the batsmen. All of them should step up and help the bowlers who are already “at their peak”. Indian bowling included Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami as the lead pace bowlers and R Ashwin as the sole spinner.
“Super proud (of India’s bowling attack). To have four bowlers take 20 wickets to win the Test is an outstanding feat, something we haven’t done in the past in Australia. That’s why we are very proud of our bowlers. They are at their peak, all of them together and it’s something that we as batsman look at as an opportunity to put in good performances. We will be, in every Test match, gunning for a result. It’s up to our batsmen to step up in this particular series and Pujara and Rahane particularly showed that.”
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Pujara praises the Indian bowlers
Pujara said that the preparations before the tour proved to be successful. He also praised the bowlers for giving the psychological advantage of 15-run lead in the first innings.
“Playing here before has helped me a lot. The most important thing for me was the preparation, when I was back home. I knew what to expect from Australian pitches and playing some of their bowlers in the past has also helped me.
“It was special, the way we came back in the game, we were four wickets and 40 runs and from there to make a comeback and get to 250 was the most important. Ultimately, winning the Test match, credit goes to all our bowlers for getting them out and getting the 15-run lead was a psychological advantage which made us believe we can bat well in the second innings and the partnerships in the second innings were very crucial. I think it’s our self belief which made it possible.”