Former Australian skipper Allan Border has claimed that Cheteshwar Pujara was almost scared to play a shot on Day 3 of the third Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The number three batsman registered his slowest half-century in Test cricket on Saturday and Border feels the reason behind it was that the Indian batsman was playing to survive rather than keep the scoreboard moving.
"He's almost scared to play a shot, isn't he? He's playing to survive rather than looking to score," Fox Sports quoted Border as saying.
At the same time, the 1987 World Cup winner also went on to say that the Indian Test specialist has not had quite the same impact as he had during India's last visit Down Under in the 2018/19 season.
"He's not had quite the same impact this series (as 2018-19) in that he's taken so long to score his runs, it's like he's stagnated at the crease and it has had a bit of a ripple effect through the Indian batting. They can't seem to get on top of Australia's bowling," the cricketer-turned-cricket pundit added.
Pujara was the batting mainstay when the two sides locked horns Down Under in the 2018-19 season. The number three Test batsman had played a crucial role in Team India's 2-1 (four-match series) where he had amassed 521 runs in eight innings and had breached the three-figure mark thrice.
This was India's first-ever Test series win on Australian soil.
The Aussies in their second innings are 103/2 with two of their famed top-order batsmen Steve Smith (29*) and Marnus Labuschagne (47*) going strong. The hosts now have a lead of 197 runs after the end of play on Day 3.
The visitors will now be hoping to restrict Australia to a manageable total on Day 4 as the SCG Test reaches its business end.
Meanwhile, Cheteshwar Pujara will be hoping to play an impactful knock during India's run-chase and make amends for his 176-ball 50 in the first innings.
(With ANI Inputs)
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