Cheteshwar Pujara calls England 'fragile' after double ton


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The Independent Online

When you have made a perfectly proportioned Test double hundred and snugly fitted into the shoes of a legend, you may be entitled to make a point or two about the opposition.

"There's nothing wrong with the wicket," said Cheteshwar Pujara. "The ball is turning. We've got three England wickets, I think we've utilised the conditions better than them.

"It's going to be a challenging task for them, because the way they were batting it looked like they were a fragile line-up for sure."

The description cut to the heart of the matter as unerringly as Pujara's impeccable placement in his unbeaten innings of 206, the second Test century of probably about 30 in his career. England were fragile.

They were fragile in the UAE in January and February, they were fragile in Sri Lanka in March, they look fragile in India in November. There was time, probably more than they would like, for them to come back.

But those early overs last night were instructive. It was a good toss to win and India had played it smartly, setting up the match at a gallop, reducing it to a regimented canter, declaring on their terms.

What a disappointing start it was after all the talk, the bluster that they could get it right. There were no methods on show that worked in the 18 overs that were bowled last night.

England might have thought it was safe to play from the crease but then Ravichandran Ashwin started turning it miles. Perhaps someone will try the method that has worked for others in the past here, bringing the bat down in front of the pad to try to take the bat-pad catch out of the reckoning.

Pujara took every form of dismissal out of the reckoning. He replaced Rahul Dravid at No 3 in India's side six matches ago. Dravid scored 13,288 Test runs at 52.31 in his career. He has not been missed.

"The kind of momentum we've got in these 18 overs, I think we can get them all out by tomorrow and obviously, we'd like to finish the match before five days if possible," said the 24-year-old Pujara. He knew fragility when he saw it.