IND vs ENG Test: Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt is impressed by the way Cheteswar Pujara has bounced back in the game. Analyzing his performance, Butt said that the No. 3 batsman batted with ‘clarity’ on the third day of the thirds match of the ongoing India vs England Test series.
After failing to put up more than one run on the scoreboard in the first innings, Pujara started strong in the second innings. He smashed 91* in 180 balls on Friday, hitting his first half-century of the series. Lauding Pujara for his unwavering attitude, the former Pakistani skipper said:
“There was clarity in Pujara’s batting on Day 3. When he first came in to bat, he got quite a few balls on his leg. Out of his first few boundaries, three were on the leg side, which he flicked towards square leg and midwicket. So, Pujara took advantage of the loose balls that he got early in his innings. His strike rotation was also impressive.”
Butt further reckoned that if Pujara returns to form, it is going to be a piece of bad news for the hosts, who are already lagging in the series with India leading by 1-0.
“Pujara’s outright attitude was positive and mindset was clear. He wanted to play his shots. As a result, he scored runs and got his confidence back as well. Pujara shifted the pressure back to the England bowlers. If he goes on to score a big hundred, then England could be in a bit of trouble. Also, Pujara’s return to form is great news for India with two more Tests coming up.”
Opening the batting on Day three, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul contributed 59 runs and eight runs, respectively, before returning back to the pavilion. Skipper Virat Kohli (45*) and Pujara are (91*) are currently batting on the crease with India ending the third day with their scoreboard flashing 215/2.
Butt expects the two batsmen to survive for at least 20 overs and extend their 99-runs partnership on Day 4.
“The first two hours on Day 4 will be extremely crucial. If Pujara and Virat Kohli can survive 20 overs against the new ball, things will get easier for them. They (Pujara-Kohli) need to try and bat at least till lunch. Also, India will need to be careful against Mooen Ali because a lot of rough has developed, especially for the right-handers outside the off stump. Off spinners will be effective. Even Joe Root got one to turn sharply.
“If India manages to score 70 runs in the first session and lose not more than one wicket, they will stay in the game. It won’t be easy and a lot will depend on how they start.”
Brief Scores of IND vs ENG Test Day 3: England 423 for 8 (Root 121, Hameed 68, Shami 3-87) lead India 78 (Anderson 3-6, Overton 3-14) by 345 runs
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