Adelaide, Dec 6: Before the start of the Border-Gavaskar Series, the chatter was all about India's batting mainstay Virat Kohli and a lethal looking Indian pace attack. Other than Kohli, it was India's opening combination which garnered focus for that has been their major problem in the Test cricket.
Cheteshwar Pujara - the man who slammed a prolific ton in Southampton Test against England earlier this year - was hardly being discussed by cricket pundits. But the Saurashtra batsman, who had scored just 201 runs from 6 innings on Australian soil, was unfazed with the lack of attention for he has a knack of silencing the critics with the bat.
On day one of the opening Test, the 30-year-old showed why he happens to be such a vital cog in India's batting lineup and why former Australia captain Michael Vaughan talked highly of him throughout the England tour.
Pujara, who came into bat in the 3rd over of the Indian innings, displayed yet another innings of class, perseverance in his defiant knock against the Aussies. The right-hander notched up his maiden Test century on Australian soil, 16th overall, and it couldn't have come at a better time for his team was in all sorts of trouble. Even as Pujara held fort from his end, wickets kept falling from the other.
However, with the help of some substantial partnerships with Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin, Pujara ensured India's day of Australian summer wasn't as bad as it looked at lunch break when four of India's batsmen were back into the dressing room.
Pujara first went on to slam his second Test fifty at Adelaide and later converted it into one of his finest Test centuries batting mostly with the lower-order. Pujara was dismissed (run out) for 123 after playing 246 deliveries.
The hallmark of his fine knock was that he was hardly lost his concentration even as the other batsmen were dismissed playing reckless strokes or going after the away moving delivery. His marathon innings was also laced with two brilliant sixes that put everyone in awe. He also hit 7 boundaries during his at the crease for 85.5 overs.
Here's what cricketing fraternity had to say about Pujara's meditating knock:
Former India captain and batting legend Sachin Tendulkar congratulated Pujara on his fine innings and hoped he'd score a few more tons on the tour.
Former England cricketer Mark Butcher had this to say about Cheteshwar Pujara's valiant innings.
Former India cricketer VVS Laxman - who had the honour of slamming his maiden Test century against Australia and his highest innings of 281 against the Aussies - hailed Pujara.
This is how veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh reacted to Pujara's century on the opening day of the Test match.
Cheteshwar Pujara was also lauded by Australia's spin legend Shane Warne.
This is how veteran commentator Harsha Bhogle reacted after watching Pujara's gritty century.
Former India opener Virender Sehwag - who scored 195 during 2003-04 tour of Australia called Pujara a 'sage' for his incredible meditation on the field.
This is how veteran commentator Ayaz Memon reacted to Pujara's another fine century in Tests.
Cricket statistician Mohandas Menon on Pujara's innings.
Pujara enters an elite group
With his ton on the opening day of the first Test, Cheteshwar Pujara entered an elite list of Indian batsmen who have scored a ton on the opening day of a Test match in Australia.
Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar also talked about Pujara's centuries at Southampton and Adelaide - which were scored almost in a similar fashion.
Former Australia captain - who slammed a Test ton on his debut against India - also commended Pujara for his brilliant ton.
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