Cheteshwar Pujara has executed the perfect mugging

Jan 06, 2019, 08:10 IST | Ian Chappell

In scoring three centuries in a series in Australia, Pujara joined an illustrious compatriot in the equally defiant Sunil Gavaskar, who achieved a similar feat in 1977-78

Cheteshwar Pujara has executed the perfect mugging
Pujara en route his 193 on Friday

"Bat time" along with "a good leave" are my two least favourite prognostications from the cricket commentary box but I doubt I could convince the redoubtable Cheteshwar Pujara.

In scoring three centuries in a series in Australia, Pujara joined an illustrious compatriot in the equally defiant Sunil Gavaskar, who achieved a similar feat in 1977-78. In accumulating 521 runs in seven innings, he was at the crease for a mammoth 1867 minutes and was not tempted by a high percentage of the 1,258 balls he faced. While the Australian cricket team was keeping a wary eye on Kohli, Pujara snuck up from behind and executed the perfect mugging.

Pujara frustrated a top-class opposition attack to the point of submission. The fast bowlers were worn to a frazzle by the end of the Indian first innings at the SCG and the lower order, for much of the series the ducks in the shooting gallery, were scoring frequently and freely.

Not only had Pujara single-handedly brought the Australian bowlers to their knees but he also paved the way for his teammates to deliver the killer blows. Pujara may not be the prettiest player to watch but he's the most effective blunter of an attack in a cricket world where currently, bludgeoning is the favoured submission hold. Pujara possesses two great qualities for a batsman; he knows what he can and can't do and he has the infinite patience to stick within those parameters.

After batting in the series for more than the length of a full Test match, the Australians still had no idea how to rid themselves of the Pujara pestilence. In fact by the end of his lengthy vigil at the SCG they probably had fewer ideas on how to conduct an ambush than when the series started out at the Adelaide Oval. Kohli may have wished for him to score quicker when he was dropped at the start of the series against England but by the time Pujara wearily trudged off the Sydney Cricket Ground I'll bet the skipper wanted to give him a bear hug. In the other dressing room they'll be wishing they never see Pujara again.

It's no surprise to hear that Pujara has been known to bat in the nets for six hours to train his mind to spend lengthy spells at the crease. If he didn't invent the term "bat time" Pujara is certainly a disciple of the method.

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