India v Australia, 3rd Test, Ranchi, 3rd day March 18, 2017

The Pujara v Cummins battle

Pat Cummins was outstanding on the third day in Ranchi, but he couldn't find a way past Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara was the only batsman who came out on top against Pat Cummins © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Two players took all the honours on the third day in Ranchi - Cheteshwar Pujara and Pat Cummins. Pujara batted all day, stitched together useful partnerships with M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane and Karun Nair, and ensured that India remained in the game; Cummins bowled with pace and hostility all day, took three wickets off superbly directed short balls, and ensured that Australia still had a chance of taking a handy first-innings lead.

The battle between the two was engrossing as well. While Cummins troubled most of the Indian batsmen with his pace and variations in length, against Pujara he came out second best. Pujara scored 35 from 50 balls off Cummins, while all the other Indian batsmen collectively managed only 24 off 100. Pujara's control stats against Cummins were outstanding too, compared to his team-mates.

While the other Indian batsmen struggled to score against Cummins, Pujara went at more than four runs an over against him. The key was his ability to get the short balls away for runs: he scored 23 of his 35 runs off 29 deliveries that were either short, or short of a good length. The cut shot fetched him ten runs, including two fours. The other batsmen only managed 16 off 51 such deliveries that Cummins bowled.

Pujara's main scoring shots v Cummins
Shot Type Runs Balls 4s
 Cut  10  3  2
 Flick/ glance  15  9  2
 Cover drive  4  5  1

While Pujara kept him at bay, Cummins won the battle against the other Indian batsmen: Vijay scored one run off 19 balls against him, Rahul 17 off 37, Rahane three off 13, and Ashwin three off 20, while Virat Kohli was dismissed off the first ball he faced from Cummins.

Cummins' pitch map shows how well he changed his length to combat a slow pitch that wasn't offering much by way of pace and bounce. And even though he changed length and pace quite liberally, he consistently maintained a line on or around off stump, thus giving the batsmen few opportunities to work him away for easy runs.

Pat Cummins varied his lengths superbly, but the line remained consistent outside off © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

The lengths bowled by Cummins
Length Pitched Runs Balls Wickets
 Short of good length  18  45  0
 Good length  4  43  0
 Short  21  35  3
 Full/ full toss/ yorker  16  27  1

More stats from day 3

2010 The last time India's top three all made 50-plus scores in the same innings, against New Zealand in Nagpur. India had eight such instances between 2006 and 2010, but this innings is the first since then.

6 Century partnerships between Vijay and Pujara in the 2016-17 season, the second most for a season. Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting had seven such stands in 2005-06. No other Indian pair has more than two century stands in the season.

7 Centuries by Pujara in this first-class season in India. Only VVS Laxman has more in a season - eight tons in 1999-2000. MAK Pataudi in 1964-65 and Sunil Gavaskar in 1978-79 also made seven centuries each. Pujara scored four centuries in Tests and three in domestic first-class games.

2.76 India's run rate in this innings - 360 for 6 in 130 overs - is their fourth lowest in last 10 years when scoring 300-plus. They made 120 in 40 overs on the second day, scoring at three per over, but on day four they accumulated only 240 runs in 90 overs at 2.67. Apart from Rahul, no batsman scored at a strike rate of more than 50.

0-179 Nathan Lyon's figures since he picked up 8 for 50 in 22.2 overs in the first innings of the previous Test. He went wicketless for 82 runs in 33 overs in the second innings of the Bangalore Test, and had figures of 0 for 97 at stumps on the third day in Ranchi.

S Rajesh is stats editor of ESPNcricinfo. @rajeshstats. Bharath Seervi is stats sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naresh28 on March 19, 2017, 16:06 GMT

    Which new players do we have that can play a Pujara innings? This is a sad fact. We need more - I thought Nair could be one but he has disappointed us after his epic triple.

  • Nampally on March 18, 2017, 15:36 GMT

    An excellent analysis of Pujara Vs. Cummins compared to Rest of the India bats. Vs. Cummins. There were 3 Indian who were caught behind by Wade off Cummins. & Kohli was caught in the slips. That shows that Indian batsmen are not moving behind the ball fast enough to cope with Cummins pace with middling the ball. Kohli's stroke was irresponsible, to say the least, because a ball well outside the off stump must be left alone Not those on the wkts. Kohli got out twice leaving the ball on the stumps. That also happened to be the first ball that he faced from Cummins! 2 wkt. taking balls shown on the chart are at least "one or 2 feet", outside the off stump. There are only 2 balls on the off stump & one on the leg stump & they all went for 4. Rest are in 1 foot or more outside the off stump. So Indian batsmen could have left those balls well alone instead of getting CBW! Lesson for Indian batsmen from this ball tracking chart!

  • cricfan62942130 on March 18, 2017, 14:42 GMT

    The Indian batsmen apart from Pujara are pushing the ball hard against Cummins and Hazlewood which is making them either giving the catch in slips or to the wicketkeeper. They are not playing with softhands at all. This is one mistake that every Indian batsman did on this pitch except Pujara. Yes, Cummins generates a lot of pace but Indian players are used to that kind of pace from the likes of Shoaib Aktar, Shaun Tait and Shane Bond. Hope tomorrow would be the good day for Indians removing the lead and staying in the match.

  • Ditraversa on March 18, 2017, 12:49 GMT

    Yep, that pretty much sums it up S. Rajesh and Bharath Seervi. India are still in this game because Pujara withstood Cummins - it was the impression given by the live coverage and now backed up by your analysis of the statistics. Equally, though, I might point out: Australia might also be considered to be still in the match because Cummins bowled so well. Take him out of the attack and India may well be in a commanding position

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