India vs Australia: ‘Pujara faced lot of balls’ - Hazlewood explains why Aussie pacers struggled in 2018
India’s 2018 Test series win in Australia was a moment that will go down in history. It was the first time that an Indian team had won a Test series Down Under in 71 years. The scenes of Virat Kohli celebrating with his family and teammates at Sydney Cricket Ground are etched in the minds of all Indian cricket fans.
But apart from Kohli, who had a tremendous tour with the bat, there was one more player who completely left Australia stunned with his performance - Cheteshwar Pujara. He was awarded man of the tournament award as he had scored 521 runs in 4 innings at an average of 74.43 in the series. He had scored 3 centuries on the tour - and completely blanked Australia’s esteemed pace attack.
Speaking in a recent conversation to reporters, Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood recalled the Test series, and felt that the bowlers were left tired as they had to go without breaks with Pujara keeping hold of strike sessions after sessions.
“I think what you saw last time (2018-19 series) was the bowlers not getting enough rest between innings. Pujara faced a lot of balls and in a long series, that’s the batman’s goal, not only to score runs in that Test, but also keep the frontline attack of the opposition out on the field for as long as possible,” said Hazlewood.
“You get the benefits of that later in the series which is exactly what happened last time around. We spent a lot of time in the field in Melbourne. We sort of rested in between before getting into the Sydney Test. Hopefully, we can spring that around this time and keep the Indian bowlers out on the field for as long as possible and reap those benefits later in the series.”
The seamer also said that the return of Mitchell Starc to the Aussie bowling line-up will be a further boost to the team. Starc has a good record in pink ball Tests, picking up 42 wickets from seven matches at an average of 19.23 – by far the most among all bowlers.
“It is obviously great news for us that Starc is joining the squad, everyone knows he is a big member of our side,” Hazlewood said. “Everyone knows his record with the pink ball, it is great news for us. We welcome him with open arms. He will be fine, if we have learnt something from this year is that nothing goes as per the plan.”