Cheteshwar Pujara was hit on his ribs, shoulder, finger, and helmet (twice so far) throughout Day 5 of the Brisbane Test, and he remained unfazed by all the body blows. The gritty Indian batsman put up a show which so summarises the Indian team on the tour of Australia.
Pujara sustained the short-ball barrage from Australian bowlers -- Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood in particular on the final day of the Test at The Gabba as India chased down 328 to secure a 2-1 win in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
His innings certainly earned him a lot of admirers in India and around the world, including teammate Rishabh Pant, who took India past the winning line with a fluent 89* knock on the day. Pant, in fact, admitted that it was Pujara who was like an inspiration to him with his gritty innings that pushed him to give more than his 100 per cent while chasing the tricky total.
“Puji bhai was standing there after getting hit some 10 times and still giving his 200 percent. That inspired me. That inspired all of us,” Pant told Hindustan Times. “He was so determined to make his team win, that’s the team culture we want to build. Only then special things happen, when you keep the team first.”
Pant further said that from the moment he walked into bat, he knew that he is playing for a win and nothing else.
“From when I walked out to bat in Brisbane, it was already in my head that we had to win the match. I never gave a second thought for a draw,” said Pant. “I was trying to keep us, as a team, in the game for as long as possible. Puji bhai and I had short targets in mind – 15-20 runs here and there and play till the end of the session and things like that.”