Cheteshwar Pujara earned plenty of plaudits for his big innings.
Cheteshwar Pujara earned plenty of plaudits for his big innings.

Cool, calm Pujara makes rescue missions a habit

There was hardly a Virat Kohli mention or chastisement of a disappointing top order as the Indian press preferred to gush over the innings of Cheteshwar Pujara on day one of the Adelaide Test

Not for the first time in his decorated 64-Test career, Cheteshwar Pujara pulled India out of the mire at Adelaide Oval on Thursday with a fighting century.

The 30-year-old - who made his Test debut way back against a Ricky Ponting-led Australia at Bengaluru in 2010 - has made face-saving knocks a bit of a habit.

The Indian Express lists three vital interventions from the No.3 that spared India's blushes, including one earlier this year against the Poms at Southampton.

Meanwhile, India are hopeful rising star Prithvi Shaw will make it back from injury for the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

The 19-year-old hurt his ankle in last week's tour game against a Cricket Australia XI at the SCG.

Team coach Ravi Shastri said the Test in Perth, starting next Friday, will come too soon along the rehabilitation process but Melbourne is looking good.


Murali Vijay’s position likely to come udner threat upon return of Prithvi Shaw.
Murali Vijay’s position likely to come udner threat upon return of Prithvi Shaw.

And judging by their top order woe in Adelaide, India will welcome him back with open arms.

Bharat Sundaresan pays tribute to Pujara's 'grit and tenacity' while others around him fell in a heap and decided full-on attack was the best form of defence.

"While the rest refused to lift their feet off the pedal even when there were obvious obstacles on the way, Pujara held on to the hand-brake when it mattered before settling into cruise-mode once he was set, and then stepping on the gas when it was really required."

The great man himself - Sachin Tendulkar - is confident Pujara's knock has kept India's hopes alive of taking a 1-0 series lead.

"The game is wide open at this stage. The way the new ball is used in Australia in the first 15-20 overs is extremely crucial and could very well have an impact on which way this Test could go."

Pujara credits a stint playing County cricket for Yorkshire for making him a more rounded player,

"Playing county cricket has helped me a lot, and playing in England conditions are always challenging and when you come to Australia you know that it is slightly better."

Shane Warne later tweeted that Yorkshire players called him Steve because they couldn't pronounce his first name.

Pujara rated his knock of 123 as among his top five Test innings, according to The Hindu, and added one of the main reasons was the quality of the Aussie attack.

"It was tough but I was set and I knew I could play my shots, especially when we lost the seventh wicket.

"Ash (Ashwin) and I were having a good partnership but once we lost Ash, I had to accelerate. I knew what shots I could play on that wicket because I had batted for two sessions."