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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

India vs Australia: Justin Langer thinks Pujara is better than Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in one aspect

Speaking for the first time since India’s maiden Test triumph on Australian soil, Justin Langer said Cheteshwar Pujara posed a unique challenge for his bowlers

cricket Updated: Jan 10, 2019 13:07 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Cheteshwar Pujara scored three hundreds in the India vs Australia Test series.
Cheteshwar Pujara scored three hundreds in the India vs Australia Test series. (AFP)

Australia coach Justin Langer Thursday said he has never seen a batsman concentrate as hard as India’s Test star Cheteshwar Pujara. India won the four-match Test series 2-1 against Australia with Pujara fetching the man of the series award with a total of 521 runs, including three hundreds.

Speaking for the first time since the visiting team’s maiden Test triumph on Australian soil, Langer said Pujara’s concentration was a challenge for his bowlers. “...I have never seen a batsman watch the ball as closely as he (Pujara) does, and that includes Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. His concentration was a challenge. And we have to keep getting better just like him, all our batsmen and bowlers,” Langer said.

Langer said his bowlers were stretched to the limit in the Test series, especially in Melbourne and Sydney. “The guys are working very hard and they are going okay. The first innings in Melbourne and Sydney, honestly, sucked the life out of us because when you are in the field for two days, with only one spin bowler, that takes energy out of the group,” he said ahead of ODI series starting Saturday in Sydney.

Also read: Rohit Sharma rings warning bell, says nobody is guaranteed World Cup ticket

“We have the best spinner and three outstanding pace bowlers, against the outstanding Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. So it takes some mental and physical energy out.

“There are new players and new staff for these three games, so that brings new energy to the group...,” he added. Australia’s fast bowlers drew all-round criticism for failing to be as effective as India’s pace battery but Langer backed them. The home team will be missing Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins in the ODI series, who have been rested to manage workloads.

“...they copped some pretty strong criticism throughout the series. But on two very flat wickets they kept running in hard and having a go and in this instance they were beaten by some a brilliant Indian side. We were beaten by a better side,” he conceded.

Also read: Predicted XI for 1st ODI - Dhoni returns, Khaleel in

Having sparred in Tests, India and Australia will now contest for white-ball supremacy with the first of three ODIs between the two teams set to be played at Sydney on 12 January.

First Published: Jan 10, 2019 13:07 IST

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