Cheteshwar Pujara, on Thursday, was dismissed for the tenth time in Test cricket by Australia’s Nathan Lyon. The Saurashtra stalwart flaunted grit and determination in the middle, especially after India lost both their openers early in the innings. He stuck in the middle for more than 150 deliveries and scored a resilient 43 in the pink-ball affair at Adelaide Oval.
Pujara, however, was denied a half-century by Lyon, who was efficiently turning the pink ball. The battle between the two lasted for a while but it was the Aussie off-spinner who had the last laugh.
Lyon’s quicker delivery managed to get an inside edge of Pujara’s bat before hitting the thigh pad and going to Marnus Labuschagne at short leg. Pujara’s decision to review the dismissal was of no use at the hotspot showed a clear nick.
Interestingly, no other bowler has dismissed Pujara more than seven times in Test cricket. Lyon is sitting head and shoulders above others, having dismissed the Indian batsman on 10 occasions. James Anderson, who has plucked Pujara’s wicket seven times, is sitting second the list.
Pujara’s stats against Lyon are a testament to his struggles against the off-spinner. Lyon has dismissed Pujara 10 times in 15 matches for an average of 75.7, amounting to 1.5 matches per dismissal. No other batsman apart from Pujara has been dismissed 10 times by Lyon. Broad, Rahane, Moeen Ali, have all been dismissed nine times by the Australian, who’s just nine wickets away from 400 Test wickets.
After the end of first day’s play, Pujara lauded Lyon’s line and length and said that he has improved a lot in the last 4-5 years.
“Lyon has improved as a bowler in the last four-five years. He likes to bowl and he wants to bowl as many overs as possible. His line length is very good and has improved a lot, I feel,” said Pujara in a virtual press conference.
“That’s something that helps him and he likes taking the challenge and he is someone who enjoys his bowling. But as a batsman, I feel you got to be prepare and try and score as many runs possible,” he added.
At stumps, India managed to gather 233/6 with Wriddhiman Saha and Ravichandran Ashwin in the middle. After Pujara’s departure, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane steadied India’s ship before a miscommunication resulted in the Indian skipper’s unfortunate run-out.