Cheteshwar Pujara made his slowest ever Test half-century, taking 174 balls for the milestone before falling two balls later in the third Test against Australia in Sydney. Prior to this knock, Pujara’s slowest half-century was off 173 balls against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2018.
Pujara’s 50 off 176 divided opinion among fans following the match. He had walked in with India 70 for 1, openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill giving a fairly brisk start. However, India’s run rate dipped with Gill’s departure; Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane (22 off 70) sharing 32 off 135 balls for the third wicket. After Rahane fell early on Day 3, Hanuma Vihari (4 off 38) too followed the same pattern adding 25 off 76 balls for the fourth wicket with Pujara.
Pujara didn’t score a boundary for his first 100 balls, and ended his knock with five fours. While the Pujara way ensured Australia’s bowlers had to toil hard for wickets, there was also a line of thought that India were handing over the advantage to Australia on a good batting wicket.
Here are some opinions and reactions from the Twitter world.
This is why intent in the morning was so crucial. And Vihari for example needs to understand that you can’t just stand there and keep blocking. That’s never going to work and will only add to the pressure and work against the team.— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) January 9, 2021
A Test match 50, 176 balls consumed and more importantly the approach has put the team in a hole. Helped nobody. Good bowling? certainly. But then world class players find a way out.#INDvsAUS https://t.co/70oVZ8lz7w— Kushan Sarkar (@kushansarkar) January 9, 2021
In the first 100 balls of his innings, Cheteshwar Pujara’s attacking shot percentage was 3%.Since 2006 - when attack percentage was first recorded - there have been 3675 Test innings of 100+ balls.
Only four saw fewer attacking shots in the first 100 balls. #AUSvIND
— The CricViz Analyst (@cricvizanalyst) January 9, 2021
There were also suggestions that Pujara’s approach was the right one and that the pitch wasn’t easy for strokeplay.
Pujara is certainly battling away through some discomfort here. Has changed his gloves on quite a few occasions this morning after having had his finger looked at and popping a pill #AusvIND— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) January 9, 2021
The Indian camp on their feet in the dressing-room as Cheteshwar Pujara walks back. They acknowledge the crucial role he’s played this morning. This is not a fast-scoring pitch #AusvIND— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) January 9, 2021
It’s not like Pujara is the only batsman who’s scored slowly. Australia stopped attacking outright after the early part of the innings, and since then Rahane’s made 22 off 70 and Vihari 4 off 38, and even Pant has slowed down significantly since lunch.— Karthik Krishnaswamy (@the_kk) January 9, 2021
There isn’t much anybody can do about it. The bowling is superb. There aren’t any easy overs. There isn’t a Saini or some other debutant who’s offering freebies - their least experienced bowler is Pat Cummins, who’s probably one of AUS’s greatest ever bowlers.— cricketingview (@cricketingview) January 9, 2021
Pujara’s innings came to an end when he received a superb delivery from Pat Cummins which he gloved behind. It triggered a collapse, as India slipped to 210 for 8.