Cheteshwar Pujara batting all day in tough overseas conditions is something that has made India stronger in recent times. His memorable heroics at Gabba helped the steam script history Down Under in 2021. And now, after an astonishing County stint earlier this year, the ace batter is up against the likes of James Anderson and Stuart Broad as India eye a series win on English soil.
Pujara scored a half-century on Sunday in the second innings, returning unbeaten on 50 at stumps. He was accompanied by Rishabh Pant who was batting on 30. The duo will resume innings on 125/3 on the penultimate day of the ongoing game as the visitors lead by 257 runs.
After the third day’s play, Mohammed Siraj, who ended the first innings with a four-wicket haul, hailed Pujara and termed him a ‘warrior’.
“He (Pujara) is a warrior. In Australia, he did it, and here also, he is doing the job. Whenever the team requires it, he always stands up. When a tough situation arises, he is always there to do the job. Exactly, bowling to him is difficult, he does not attack much and just keeps on leaving balls so that can get irritating in the nets,” said Siraj during a press conference.
The right-arm quick further spoke about England batter Jonny Bairstow who stood out with a brilliant hundred. The latter ended up scoring off 140 balls, including 14 fours and 2 sixes.
Siraj said the team knew that Bairstow is in great form and can only be taken down by sticking to the basics.
“As bowlers, we had to just keep patience. Bairstow is in form and he has been continuously playing attacking batting since the New Zealand series. So, we were aware his confidence was high. Our simple plan was to stick to our basics and, no matter what he did for us, it was a matter of one ball, be it an inswinger or seaming in off the pitch,” he said.
Siraj has been constantly backed by stand-in skipper Jasprit Bumrah in the game. Heaping praise on the latter, the Hyderabad bowler said, “As a player and as a captain, he has been the same. He is always supportive and is always there to help me out. Whenever I do wrong, he tries to make me understand what to bowl in certain situations.”