AUS v IND 2020-21: ‘Losing Rishabh Pant’s wicket was a turnaround’, says Cheteshwar Pujara

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant’s dismissal was the turnaround moment on the third day of the ongoing Test against Australia at SCG, says India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara after the end of play.

Pant and Pujara shared a 53-run stand for the sixth wicket, but as soon as the former was dismissed, the visitors’ innings collapsed from 195-4 to 244 all-out.

“You should give credit to Australia for the way they bowled, they did not give any loose balls. If you look at the way our innings was progressing, we were in trouble when Rishabh got out, apart from that, till then we were in a comfortable position. We were 180/4 but things turned out once Rishabh got out, and then I got out. We did not score too many after that, I thought losing Pant was a turnaround, our aim was to get to around 330-340 but we missed out there,” said Pujara during the virtual press conference, as quoted by ANI.

India also coped a couple of injury scares on Day 3 as Pant and Ravindra Jadeja were hit on their hands – elbow and thumb respectively – and taken for scans. The duo didn’t take the field when the tourists came out to bowl.

“Well when Rishabh got hit, I was not aware as to how bad it was, I don’t know about the results of his scans, will know about it later. Both Pant and Jadeja are important members of the team, whatever happens with them, I still feel we will have to put on a good show tomorrow,” said Pujara.

“To be honest, it does affect because we are left with four bowlers and it puts pressure on the other bowlers, so it’s never easy when you lose a bowler especially when it’s Ravindra as he can keep bowling from one end and he can land the ball at the right line and length, he puts pressure on the batsmen. He is valuable as a bowler and fielder, losing him is a blow for us, but the first session tomorrow will be crucial and we will put a better show,” he added.

Commenting on frequent batting collapses in overseas conditions, Pujara said: “I would say that when we are playing overseas, it’s never easy, some of the guys are still learning. We have to bat well as a lower-order, we just have to accept this, it is something which we need to address, we have also spoken about it. I feel a major concern is we are losing too many wickets when we are six down, the lower-middle order has to bat well, Bumrah has improved his batting, and our bowlers are working on their batting. The margin of error is less as a batsman, you need to also give credit to the bowlers.”

Batting in the second innings, Australia lost David Warner (13) and Will Pucovski (10) cheaply but the duo of Marnus Labuschagne (47*) and Steve Smith (29*) added an unbroken 68-run stand for the third wicket to put the home team in a commanding position.

Australia eventually finished the third day on 103/2, extending their overall lead to 197 runs.

“Our bowlers are learning, if you look at our current fast-bowling lineup, they are slightly inexperienced. But I think day by day, they will get better. It is an opportunity for them to learn. It is Siraj’s second game and Saini’s first game, they are bound to make mistakes. We have to allow them some time to settle in, it’s not easy to bowl in Australia, our bowlers have to learn few more things, some of the things could have been done better, we need to show better discipline in our bowling, we are doing the things which we can,” said Pujara.

(With ANI inputs)

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