AUS vs IND: Another productive Australia tour for Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara wasn't as prolific with the bat as he was in India's 2018-19 tour of Australia, but he was still India's second-highest run-getter of the series.

Watchful, as always: Cheteshwar Pujara lets one go during his innings of 56 on Day Five of the fourth Test in Brisbane. - AP

Cheteshwar Pujara scored 521 runs in seven Test innings in India’s 2018-19 tour of Australia. He returned to Australia in 2020-21 as a valuable India No. 3, and so expectations to score a bucketful of runs were high when the teams embarked on the four-Test series.

Pujara couldn’t replicate his performances of 2018-19, but didn’t massively underperform either. He continued to occupy the crease for long periods, and turned in three half-centuries, including an innings of 56 that helped lay the foundation for India’s successful chase of 328 on the final day of the final Test in Brisbane. He emerged as India’s second-highest run-getter this time, too, with 271 runs, behind Rishabh Pant (274 runs).

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Pujara was vigilant as usual but kept getting dismissed before reaching a substantial score. As the series wore on, however, his performances improved: he scored two half-centuries in Sydney, and 81 runs across two innings in Brisbane.

Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood dismissed Pujara six times in the series. Cummins got him out five times. It seemed no matter how many deliveries Pujara ate up during his innings, an excellent delivery that would take the edge of his bat or breach his defences was just around the corner. However, with crucial contributions in the third and the fourth Tests, he was still one vital cog in India’s bid for a series win.

Ajinkya Rahane, Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant were the other notable Indian batsmen in the Test series. Pujara didn’t account for attractive knocks like Rahane’s in Melbourne, Gill’s in Brisbane, or Pant’s in Sydney and Brisbane, but he was effective nonetheless.