Having seen Cheteshwar Pujara play a great knock on Day 2 of the ongoing fourth Test, former England great Sir Ian Botham has said that the Indian stalwart will be mighty pleased with his efforts.
Pujara scored a high quality 132* and batted exceedingly well against the fast bowlers as well as the spinners with wickets falling around him. His knock and excellence with the tail alongside, gave India a lead of 27 runs, when from a position of strength at 140/2 they collapsed very badly to 195-8 against England's 246.
knowing fully well that control percentage on a pitch like Edgbaston, will be different to the one here at Southampton. But if the quality is about how least the flawed shots you play, Cheteshwar Pujara actually played a much better knock than Virat's 149 in that context alone.
This is only his second hundred outside Asia and one that should allow him to feel secure about his future for time to come in Indian Cricket.
"Cheteshwar Pujara will be delighted because he was under the cosh and was left out of the first Test match but like all good players who get left out, he went and worked on his game and has come back and put things right." Botham wrote in his column for Sky Sports.
Botham further wrote, "These are the first runs Cheteshwar Pujara's got this summer, he had never scored a hundred in England before his unbeaten 132 which helped India earn a 27-run lead and his only previous century outside of Asia was the 150 he hit against South Africa in Johannesburg." and added, "Pujara has worked hard. We know he's a very good batsman, we watched him in India when he scored two centuries in each of the series in 2012 and 2016 against England, so it is no real surprise to me that he has got runs."
"England do have a player just like Pujara in their side in Alastair Cook, who will bat and bat and bat but he just hasn't got the runs at the moment. I don't think he's that far away from doing that again for the team."
Botham also reiterated that India lost a great opportunity to take a huge advantage by batting long on Day 2 and 3 and said, "I do think India will be a bit disappointed with their middle order and I couldn't work out Rishabh Pant's innings. As a young player who is renowned for his stroke play - who struck a six with only the second ball he faced in Test cricket at Trent Bridge - to poke around for 29 deliveries and then get out."
"They are all good players in the Indian team but sometimes you're not in as good nick as you'd like to be."