Former India pacer Ashish Nehra has lauded Cheteshwar Pujara for his confident contribution with the bat during the third day of the Headingley Test. Pujara came out to bat with a positive mindset and scored 91 not out runs,stitching partnerships with both Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Brushing aside talks about his form, Cheteshwar Pujara slammed 91 not out runs under tremendous pressure on Day 3 of the Leeds Test on Friday. Showing a lot of intent from early on in his innings, India's No. 3 pounced on the loose deliveries and helped India end the day on 215/2.
After Kl Rahul's departure, Pujara came out to bat and was part of an impressive 82-run stand with Rohit Sharma. After Sharma’s dismissal, Pujara was joined by Kohli and the duo put up a 99-run (unbeaten) partnership. The innings from the 33-year-old holds a lot of importance considering that India conceded a massive 354-run first innings lead after getting bundled out for 78 on the opening day.
Former India pacer Ashish Nehra has lauded Pujara for his change in style, saying that he has never seen this avatar of the 33-year-old.
“The way Pujara batted today, I’ve never seen him doing something like that before. He had a positive mindset and his game play is completely different. I hope he wasn't under any kind of pressure related to his performance. I believe, it was his own thought process that I’d play this way today,” Nehra told Sony Sports Network in the post-match show.
Pujara, in a highly unlikely fashion, pulled a delivery from Craig Overton to bring up his fifty of 50 balls. The Saurashtra batsman also showed a lot of aggression with his footwork.
The cricketer-turned-commentator defended Pujara's slow and watchful style of play and at the same time reckoned that his 'newly-developed' mindset can unveil a completely different version of him.
“People say Pujara plays slow. It’s not about 5-10 Test matches. He has played around 90 games for India and has 6000 runs to his credit. You have achieved success with this batting style. Just leave what people are talking about, if he continues to play with the mindset he had today, you would witness a completely different Pujara.’’
The former Indian cricketer also went on to explain how India can easily bounce back on top of the competition if they can bat for the whole of day 4 and take a lead of 100-plus runs.
“It’s a possibility that India can bat for the entire fourth day, take a 100-150 lead and put the pressure back on England. The way the pitch has behaved this far, winning isn’t easy but you need to cross those little milestones to stay there,” the former pacer said.
At the end of day 3 of the third Test at Headingley, India were at 215/2, trailing the hosts by 139 runs.