India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on Saturday scored his slowest fifty in Test cricket off 174 deliveries against Australia in the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series.
His previous slowest half-century came off 173 balls in a winning cause against South Africa in the first innings of the Johannesburg Test in January 2018. Incidentally, in that match, Pujara took 53 deliveries to score his first run, then the most by any top-order batsman since 2001.
On the third day of the Sydney Test, Pujara solidly defended against the second new ball and Australia pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.
The Rajkot-born cricketer even took a nasty blow to his left shoulder off a short ball of Cummins. However, off the very next ball, Pujara showed the World No. 1 Test bowler what he is made of as he opened the face of his bat to help the ball to the fence through the gap between second slip and gully to bring up the fifty-run stand between him and Rishabh Pant.
A single brought up Pujara's fifty in the next over from Hazlewood.
“Won’t worry him one bit. He’s still there, he is doing a tremendous job,” said Australia great Shane Warne reacting to Pujara's innings.
However, he may have ended up jinxing things as Cummins finally had the last laugh when he sent the 32-year-old back into the hut only six balls later.
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