After two quick dismissals —Murali Vijay and KL Rahul— the opposition bowlers looked in total control. India no. 3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was in the line of fire of the Protean pacers. They kept testing him outside the off-stump, peppered him with short deliveries, and made the ball bounce awkwardly into Pujara's pads. The lines were so tight that Pujara had no scoring opportunities. In fact he was forced to leave deliveries that were pitched on the middle-stump too.
After having endured that burst from the pacers, Pujara finally got off the mark on the 54th ball of his innings. This way, he saved himself from getting an unwanted record — of taking the most deliveries to open the account by an Indian. The record is held by former India spinner Rajesh Chauhan, who took 57 deliveries to open his account against Sri Lanka in 1994.
Even after getting first runs on the board, the batsman looked a bit tentative on the crease. At lunch on Day 1, Pujara had only managed to score 5 runs.
Earlier, during the second Test at Centurion, Pujara achieved a rare feat of becoming the first Indian batsman to be run-out twice in a Test match. Overall, he is the 25th player to lose his wicket twice through run out.
First Published: January 25, 2018, 7:50 AM IST