‘They felt they had already won’: Pujara reveals how Aussies lost the plot in 2017 series
Lyon continued the devastation in the 2nd Test as India were bowled out for a total below 200. Australia batted solidly to take an 87-run lead in the first innings.Updated: Apr 30, 2020 15:04 IST
The four-match Test series against Australia in 2017 was the last leg of a long home season that had seen Virat Kohli’s Team India pummell opposition teams in home conditions. New Zealand and England were thrashed and Bangladesh were shown their place in a one off Test. But things didn’t go according to the script against the Aussies. Steve Smith’s men humiliated the hosts in the opening match in Pune with the spin duo of Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe running riot.
Lyon continued the devastation in the 2nd Test as India were bowled out for a total below 200. Australia batted solidly to take an 87-run lead in the first innings. This was Smith and company’s chance to take an unassailable lead and they were on top of proceedings with India tottering at 120 for 4. It was at this point that Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane got together and bailed the team out with a century stand.
Ravichandran Ashwin’s spin was too hot to handle for the Aussies as India bounced back to win the match and eventually won the series 2-1. Pujara and Ashwin spoke about the match during an aInstagram Live session on Wednesday and the India number 3 revealed details about his encounter with the Aussies.
“For me I think the first Test match... when we lost, all of us sat together and had a chat. In a 4-Test series, it’s always difficult to make a comeback after being 1-0 down,” Pujara said.
“In the 1st innings (Bengaluru Test), we didn’t bat well. So when I was walking into it, I felt a lot of pressure. But after the 1st innings, Anil bhai (Kumble) had a chat with me on how to tackle Nathan Lyon. I went to the NCA and worked on a few things which helped me.
“But I felt pressure when I walked into bat (2nd innings). The kind of sledging they did... I thought they were a little ahead of what they wanted to achieve. Their thought process was... they felt they had already won the game.
“By Tea time, I was with Ajinkya (Rahane), we were coming into the dressing room and they were sledging as if they had won the game. That is when things did turn around, I felt,” Pujara said.
Pujara was the second highest run getter in the series behind Smith with 405 runs at an average of 57.85. Ashwin finished as the second highest wicket taker with 21 scalps, four behind ‘partner in crime’ Ravindra Jadeja.