Home > Features >

Cheteshwar Pujara and Pragyan Ojha emerge as biggest gains from the Ahmedabad Test against England

Cheteshwar Pujara and Pragyan Ojha emerge as biggest gains from the Ahmedabad Test against England

Cheteshwar Pujara (left) is moving from strength to strength and has carried on from where he left off against New Zealand. On the other hand, on a slow surface, Pragyan Ojha backed his strength and deceived the batsmen © Getty Images

India have comprehensively trumped England in the first Test at Ahmedabad to set the tone for the series. While England were always going to find it tough in India, the home side had their fair share of problems and a number of questions to answer. With a convincing win under the belt, the Indians would move into the second Test a confident unit. 

The Test match started off on a very positive note for the Indians with the opening partnership doing well. The form of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag was a cause of concern in the lead-up to the series as they hadn’t provided India a good start for quite some time. The pressure on both was immense, particularly when you consider the fact that the selectors had included two back-up openers in the squad. However, Sehwag produced a sparkling hundred – an effort that had shades of caution and his typical aggression. Gambhir, on the other hand, was sedate and looked keen to spend time in the middle.

Cheteshwar Pujara is moving from strength to strength and has carried on from where he left off against New Zealand. What is impressive is his hunger; he has made a habit of converting starts into big ones. This double hundred was a cool-headed knock as he anchored India’s innings. Graeme Swann was getting some purchase off the surface, but Pujara dealt with him magnificently well. In this transition era, people often talk about Virat Kohli leading the charge. However, Pujara has presented hope that the post-Rahul Dravid phase wouldn’t be as tough as one expected.

Yuvraj Singh’s comeback trail just gets better and better. Who would have thought he would be playing Test cricket in November when one saw him battling cancer early this year! Some felt that he was rushed into the T20 team, but since then he has proved everyone wrong with each passing step. His progression into First-Class cricket was fantastic and he has followed that up with a fifty in the Test match. The only thing Yuvraj would want to do is convert these fifties into big ones. If he has to cement his spot at No 6, he has to make his starts count.

The batsmen who didn’t get runs were Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Tendulkar looked in decent touch, but was perhaps too keen to get on with things. There has been a lot of talk surrounding his future in the game and he surely has a point to prove. The good thing is that he looked positive and a big knock may not be far away. On the other hand, it was a rare failure for Kohli in the first innings and he would be gutted by the failure. However, he batted at No 3 in the second innings and saw India through – something that would give him confidence going into the second Test.

Sometimes Dhoni’s tactics with the bat are baffling. In one-day cricket, he has shown the tendency to take it too late and then blast off.  In his only essay in the Test match he scored only five off 37 balls. The Indian skipper is at his best when he is positive and in an attacking frame of mind. By being defensive, he gets bogged down.

The spinners played their part and used England’s weakness to their advantage. Pragyan Ojha, in particular, was the pick of the bowlers. His nine-wicket match haul was decisive for India as Pujara’s double ton. On the slow surface, he backed his strength and deceived the batsmen. His flight, in particular, was his main weapon as a number of batsmen were foxed in the air.

Ravichandran Ashwin was said to be India’s bowler with the mystery element, but he wasn’t very effective in the second innings. As one of the commentators pointed out, the surface at Ahmedabad was perhaps more suited to Ojha’s orthodox style as he bowls within his limitations. Sometimes, sticking to an orthodox game plan may reap more rewards than some mystery variations. Ashwin may have a better time in the coming Test matches. Ojha would want to build on this performance.

There wasn’t much in the track for the fast-bowlers – Umesh Yadav and Zaheer Khan. They made their contributions, even though it was a spinner dominated game. Zaheer broke the big opening stand in the second innings and bowled a good spell then. He also picked up the final wicket to end England’s challenge in the second innings. Yadav, too, contributed with two important strikes in the middle in the second essay, although he was lucky with both decisions going his way. The biggest positive for Yadav was that he was economical during the game, something he has struggled to maintain even in Test cricket. 

India can look back and mark ticks in most boxes. It was a team-effort with two players in particular standing out. The caravan now moves to the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and it is imperative that India maintain the same level of intensity in the second Test. They shouldn’t allow England a sniff if they are to avenge their defeat of the summer of 2011.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and an analyst, anchor and voice-over artist for the site’s YouTube Channel. He shot to fame by spotting a wrong replay during IPL4 which resulted in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. His insights on the game have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. He has also participated on live TV talk-shows on cricket. Nishad can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nishad_44)

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Colombo

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Australia vs South Africa 2014, 5th ODI at Sydney: Highlights

Quinton de Kock’s century in vain as Australia register two wicket win over South Africa

Saeed Ajmal: 99 per cent bowlers will fail 15 degree test

Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque register second-highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 India New Zealand Pakistan South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Sri Lanka vs England 2014: Moeen Ali, Alastair Cook’s form bodes well, says Mark Ramprakash

Mithali Raj: India women confident ahead of ODI series against South Africa

Sri Lanka vs England 2014: England’s 2nd practice match washed out

Bangladesh bring up 100th win in international cricket

India vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Tour Game Preview: India eye good warm-up to kick-off tour Down Under

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey will get another chance to impress in final

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Australia vs South Africa 2014, 5th ODI at Sydney: Highlights

Saeed Ajmal: 99 per cent bowlers will fail 15 degree test

Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque register second-highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

हेल्थ टिप #2: घरेलु उपचार के द्वारा जले हुए घाव से ज़ल्द राहत पायें

Sri Lanka vs England 2014: Moeen Ali, Alastair Cook’s form bodes well, says Mark Ramprakash

International programme in Animal Husbandry

Live Cricket Score Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st Tour Game at Adelaide

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

सौन्दर्य टिप #43: मुँहासों से छुटकारा पाने के लिए शहद से बना पैक लगाकर देखें

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Bangladesh outclass Zimbabwe by 68 runs in 2nd ODI; take 2-0 lead in series

NGOs pursue education for all

Bigg Boss 8 highlights: Nigaar Khan leaves the house, says she is shocked by Gautam Gulati and Puneet Issar’s hatred towards her!

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here