Not a Kid Anymore!

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Cheteshwar Pujara showed a lot of character - Sachin Tendulkar

The amount of confidence in Pujara's 72 runs in India's second innings at Chinnaswamy was like he has been there for a while. The debutant played shots with immense maturity on a wearing wicket - as if he had played some 20-30 Tests for India already and was feeling right at home. Laxman wouldn't mind that...

Chasing 207 for a win on the last day, Pujara - who was sent ahead of Dravid - was fluent and shared two crucial partnerships with Vijay and Tendulkar. Dhoni and co might take all the credit for his promotion to number three, but the 22-year-old was the real turnaround for the match. Ponting and his bowlers could only watch the future of Indian batting in full bloom.

In the first innings too, Pujara started with an awesome cover drive before a threateningly low delivery from Mitchell Johnson did him in. However in the second innings he dealt the exact one from Ben Hilfenhaus to the cover boundary - a shot that would have made Laxman proud.

After a short vigil in his first innings, Pujara could have easily become a target for critics if he had failed the second time. But, he stayed calm, took the No.3 position as a challenge and boy did he impress? Cheteshwar was equally good on the field.

The name - Cheteshwar Pujara - we have been hearing for long. He has scored bucketful of runs in domestic cricket. There he would score in front of empty stands but at Chinnaswamy, it was houseful and he treated them with character, skill and concentration on a fifth day pitch. He not only celebrated his debut match with brilliance but laid a good foundation for an easy India win. Kudos mate!

It would be an understatement to say Cheteshwar Pujara was the find of the series. He was there waiting for his chance. I would like to see him as a permanent feature in India's scheme of things - sooner rather than later.