What’s the story?
Cheteshwar Pujara believes that India are not yet out of the second Test against Australia at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. Promising a much better performance with the bat in the second innings, the 29-year old has pointed to the fact that the visitors will have to bat last on a rapidly deteriorating pitch.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the second day’s play, Pujara mused, “We are very much in the game and they also have to bat fourth. We have already seen the ball keeping low. As far as our batting is concerned, the bigger the total the more pressure the Australians will feel.
“We have spoken about how to go about our batting in the second innings and I don't want to reveal it here. But it is important that we put up a big total on the board.”
On India’s woes with the Decision Review System (DRS), he admitted, “We’ve been working on it. At times there were some close calls, we didn’t get it right. There was an incident where Shaun Marsh was out and we didn’t take the review. We thought this was the time, they were already five down and if we got another wicket.
“We were not sure and got it wrong. But it is something we can work on.”
Resuming the second day at 40/0, Australia rode on dogged half-centuries from Matt Renshaw and Shaun Marsh to reach 237/6. With the first-innings lead already at 48 runs, they will be hoping to stretch their advantage beyond the 100-run mark.
The heart of the matter
Realising that they were not in the situation to go searching for wickets, India’s bowlers opted to build pressure by stifling the flow of runs. As a consequence, the first session fetched 2 wickets at the cost of just 47 runs.
During the post-lunch session, India could have had Marsh for just 14 when a Umesh Yadav delivery kissed the glove on the way to the wicket-keeper. In response to a half-hearted appeal, the umpire remained unmoved. Even though they had the option of reviewing the decision, the hosts failed to do so.
It was an extension of their issues with DRS over the course of this home season.
With the dangerous Mitchell Starc and the resourceful Matthew Wade at the crease, India need early strikes on the third day if they want to restrict Australia’s lead. However, a bigger challenge will see India’s dispirited batting lineup attempting to overturn their dire form in this series.
Under immense pressure from all corners, India are still clinging on by a thread in this game. The first session on the third day becomes extremely critical as they cannot allow the Australians to run away with a massive lead. Considering the difficulties of batting last on this surface, Virat Kohli’s troops will continue to believe.