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October 13, 2010
India were looking to Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid to play the starring role in the chase of 207 but it was the debutant Cheteshwar Pujara who made the most significant contribution in securing the 2-0 series victory against Australia. Pujara batted at No. 3, displacing Rahul Dravid from a spot he has owned for over a decade, and said after the game that he learnt of the promotion only on the morning of the fifth day.
He walked in when Virender Sehwag was dismissed for 7 and began his second innings positively, despite having been dismissed lbw for 4 in the first innings by one that kept low from Mitchell Johnson. "Obviously I was a bit nervous," he told Neo Sports after the game. "I told myself I wanted to be in the present. I had practiced enough and if I looked at each and every ball, each and every over, then there is no pressure."
Pujara's approach was assured and he scored briskly at more than a run-a-ball, forcing Australia to re-evaluate their plan of attack. "If you see the wicket, it's a lot easier to bat with the new ball than when the ball starts reversing a bit," Pujara said. "Australia were trying to get some wickets early on. They were trying to attack but also trying to defend. They didn't know what they were trying to do."
The second-wicket partnership of 72 between Pujara and M Vijay put the game beyond Australia's reach and Pujara credited his success to his extensive experience on India's domestic circuit, where he has been a consistently prolific run-scorer.
"Definitely, I was successful because of all the runs I've scored in domestic cricket. I had enough experience so that helped me a lot. I was sure of their plans so I knew what shots I could play."
After his association with Vijay, Pujara added 57 runs with Sachin Tendulkar for the third wicket before missing a straight delivery from Nathan Hauritz. Pujara spoke of the advice Tendulkar had given him when they had batted together in the first innings: "He told me that 'you might be nervous, just enjoy it, don't try and overcome it, it will go away when you spend a few minutes at the crease."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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