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Cheteshwar Pujara: The Fulcrum Around Which Kohli, Rahane Have Flourished

The fault finding chatter about the snail-pace run-scoring of Cheteshwar Pujara has not stopped even after his bulwark-like 206-ball 45 in the second innings of the Lord’s Test that India won following unbelievable team heroics. The thickset looking one-drop in 132 innings so far of his 88 Test matches, has come under flak for his barn door defence at the crease ever since India’s campaign in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy that the Ajinkya Rahane-led team transformed itself from a down-and-out side in Adelaide into a gargantuan at the Gabba. The fact though is that right from the legendary opening batsman Sunil Gavaskar to the captain Kohli, vice-captain Rahane and the batsman in form KL Rahul have backed Pujara to the hilt. For long Pujara has been the fulcrum around whom Kohli has accumulated runs and has given substance to the third wicket stand (2,567 runs in 46 matches/56 innings). Rahane under the cosh has joined forces with Kohli, and amassed 2,933 runs in 38 matches/ 46 innings for the fourth wicket. Pujara and Rahane have made 1135 runs for the fourth wicket for a healthy average of 45.40. The numbers speak a lot, and the negative noise following the 100 run undertaking by the ‘targeted’ Pujara and Rahane at Lord’s, may have temporarily ceased. The Pujara-Kohli-Rahane combine has delivered aplenty for Indian cricket, including some splendid wins.