17 March, 2017, 3:57 PM, Ranchi. Indian openers batting well, adding more than fifty runs for the first wicket after a long-long time. Scoreboard reads 91/0. KL Rahul looks comfortable at crease, attacking but cautious. Cummins to Rahul. A terrific delivery. Short delivery, bounces on the batsman who gloves it to the keeper. KL Rahul, out for 67. Enters Cheteshwar Pujara. Straight face of the bat at everything coming towards him. Who says he has problem around middle stump line? Foot behind the fully open front face of the bat, and easily defended. He knows he has to hold his own until the skipper is passed fit to bat. On the other side of the pitch, stands tall the monk of cricket, Murali Vijay, playing his monk like innings, defending and driving. India just had to see through another 9 overs in the day, and start out fresh tomorrow. That’s what the duo did. Blocking and stopping everything. Stumps, finally, a relief.
The next day starts. It is up to these two to see as far as they can with this stand. Both do that. But as it happens, one mistake opens the floodgates to many. A certain lack of concentration from the monk and easy wicket granted to the Aussies. But the Ranchi crowd roars high, as the Skipper comes out to bat, despite the speculations about him leaving the match. But he doesn’t stay there for long, nor does Rahane or Karun Nair or Ashwin. But there is a particular constant out there, all by himself, watching and learning, with grit determination of reaching as close to the Australian total as possible and give his team the best chance of winning the match.
That’s what his job has been for almost five years. Filling the shoes of his predecessor, who did the same. Just stay at the crease when all the other batsmen fail. Put up your best when the others can’t, save your team as selflessly as you can. Well, we are satisfied, we are happy.
Cheteshwar DEPENDABLE Pujara has time and again saved the Indian team from a batting collapse which could result in a certain defeat. Time and again he has proved his value at no. 3 and why he is best at the position. No other no. 3 has same records as this man. All audience talk about these days is the Kohli’s, the Smith’s, the Root’s, but there are the Pujara’s who do their work quitely and make the others a better batsmen.
At the end of day 3 in the third test match of the series, India stand at 350/6 trailing by 101. Pujara bats on 130 with Saha at the other end. Both likely to see the Australian score off and get some lead in the bag, if they can. While Pujara will be hopeful to get to his double hundred tomorrow, the fans would like the game to produce a result and not go towards a draw.
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