'They've always been a challenging team': Pujara names the toughest India-Australia series he's been part of
- The 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy is not the toughest India-Australia Test series he's been a part of, says Cheteshwar Pujara
He emerged as one of the architects of India's 2-1 Test series win against Australia Down Under, but despite his heroics through the four Test matches, the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy isn't the toughest India-Australia Test series that Cheteshwar Pujara has been a part of.
The first full-fledged India-Australia Test series which Pujara was a part of was the 2014-15 series, which Australia won 2-0 at home, and even though he returned to the country four years later to score 521 runs including three centuries and starred as India recorded their maiden Test series win in Australia, it was in fact a year earlier at home in 2017 that Pujara admits to have been part of the 'toughest Test series' against Australia.
"I felt it is one of the best Test victories I have been part of," Pujara told senior cricket journalists Jamie Alter and Meha Bhardwaj Alter on their YouTube channel 'Cricket Fables'.
"Each and every time you play in Australia or against Australia, they have always been a challenging team to play against. We remember the 2017 Test series which I feel was the toughest Test series I have been part of. Although it was in India, the kind of challenge they threw at us was really good, so wherever we play against Australia it has never been easy and victories are always tough to earn, so we always enjoy victories against the Australian team."
India won the 2017 Border-Gavaskar trophy 2-1 with Pujara scoring 405 runs and emerging the second-highest scorer of the series behind Steve Smith’s tally of 499. After India were handed a surprise 333-run hammering in Pune in the first Test, India won the second match by 75 runs with Pujara scoring 92 in the second innings. The third Test ended in a draw but Pujara produced a marathon knock, scoring a double century in India’s only innings of the match.
That however, by no stretch of the imagination, takes anything away from what Pujara accomplished in India’s recent historic win Down Under. Yes, he did not burn up the charts like he did the tour before, but his three half-centuries and the numerous body blows he endured to ensure India did not lose wickets was the stuff of legends.
"It is one of the best series. Maybe number-wise it might not sound like a big number... it wasn’t bad... but it you compare it to the last series that I played in Australia where I scored three centuries, then yes," Pujara added.
"But if we look at this particular series, there was only one century from the Indian team and two from the Australian team in all four matches, so there were not many runs scored because the pitches were challenging. If I look at this series, it the one of the best series I have been part of considering the kind of team which we had."