Cheteshwar Pujara scores slowest Test fifty off 174 deliveries

IND vs AUS: Cheteshwar Pujara's previous slowest half-century came off 174 balls in the Sydney Test.

Cheteshwar Pujara

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara talking to the physio after being struck by the ball during day five of the fourth Test against Australia at The Gabba on Tuesday.   -  Getty Images

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on Tuesday scored his 28th Test fifty, which is his slowest in the longest format of the game off 196 deliveries, against Australia in the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy series.

He reached the mark in style, slamming a short ball from Marnus Labuschagne towards the ropes.

Reacting to the shot, Australia spin great Shane Warne, in the commentary box, said, "This is his slowest fifty but maybe the most important of them all."

His previous slowest half-century came on this Tour itself when he took 174 deliveries to reach the mark in the previous Test in Sydney.

Next on the list, is the one he scored 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 had taken 53 deliveries to get off the mark, then the most by any top-order batsman since 2001.

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On the fifth day of the Brisbane Test, Pujara solidly defended against the Australia pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

The Rajkot-born cricketer, who averages 48.09 in Tests, took a number of blows to his body off a barrage of short balls. He got hit on the helmet twice and was also troubled by multiple deliveries aimed at his elbow, hands and body.

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Moments after opener Shubman Gill was dismissed, Hazlewood struck Pujara on his right finger, which saw the right-handed batsman go down, screaming in immense pain. Although it was thought that he would, in all probability, retire hurt, Pujara showed immense courage to stand up and take the fight to the Aussie bowlers each time.

Former England cricketer Nick Knight, during the break after the second session, said, "I think it is okay for a fast bowler to employ the short ball strategy against a batsman. But maybe, Australia is bowling short a bit too much."

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