Indian playing at the MCG on day 3 was an overwhelming experience for Australia. Both Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara playing made a pair who were in contrast with each other yet complimented well. Pujara is the slow-moving gazelle whose game involved the steady accumulation of runs while Kohli, on the other hand, is an upright, stately player who played with frenzied aggression to score maximum runs.
India declared the innings at 443/7 and gave Australia a chance to make a way in the third Test. But, the take away from the inning is the formidable pair of Pujara and Kohli that has made them one of the most successful partnerships in Tests. In the 56 Tests innings, their partnership has scored a total of 2708 runs at a healthy average of 49.23. This includes 7-century alliances and 12 other stands of 50+ runs.
With Pujara batting at No. 3 and Kohli bats mostly at no.4 which makes it almost inevitable for them not to play together alongside each other. What brings strength in their partnership is the fact that Pujara plays in his zone without being affected by Kohli’s positivity on the pitch. Both the men stick to their methods and Kohli never tries to go out in frustration to score more when playing with Pujara.
At the MCG, Pujara and Kohli playing together gave India a solid foundation along with a big total that bowlers can fight against. The performance at the MCG is the most productive batting innings for India of the calendar year overseas. India has played an underdog in South Africa, England and now recently in Australia.
Speaking after his 17th Test century, Pujara said of Kohli, “He is such a great timer of the ball.”
“His straight drive struck me the most, especially this innings. The way he was hitting the ball, when I was standing at the non-striker’s end, I could see the full face of his bat. That is one shot I really enjoyed watching. Whenever we have a partnership, we try and share the information, whatever we can about the bowlers and the conditions.”
The hosts got sick of India’s No. 3 and No. 4 at the MCG for a fabulous game that attracted 36,524 fans. Australian side was more relieved than delighted when Kohli ramped a short, wide ball from Mitchell Starc. Australia knew at the end of the inning that they had been schooled by two masters.