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)

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 20, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Kolkata

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Dubai

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 22, 2014 (19:00 IST)   at Cuttack

South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 24, 2014 (03:00 IST)   at Mount Maunganui

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Oct 25, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Dhaka


South Africa tour of New Zealand, 2014

Oct 21, 2014  at Mount Maunganui

South Africa won by 6 wkts

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 17, 2014  at Dharamsala

India won by 59 runs

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 14, 2014  at Visakhapatnam

Match cancelled

Pakistan vs Australia in UAE, 2014

Oct 12, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Australia won by 1 run

West Indies tour of India, 2014

Oct 11, 2014  at Delhi

India won by 48 runs


India vs West Indies 4th ODI at Dharamsala


AB de Villiers speaks ahead of New Zealand ODIs

South Africa vs New Zealand 2014: 5 memorable matches

Yasir Shah: The new spinning sensation for Pakistan

Virat Kohli takes wicket with the first (0th?) ball of his T20I career

Kevin Pietersen’s autobiography — a litany of complaints with a few redeeming patches

Banning West Indian players in IPL can affect the ‘Brand value’ of the event – Will BCCI take this gamble?

Australia Australia tour of UAE 2014 BCCI India India vs West Indies India vs West Indies 2014 New Zealand Pakistan Salaam Cricket South Africa West Indies West Indies cancel India tour 2014 West Indies tour of India 2014 West Indies vs India West Indies vs India 2014

ICC World Cup 2015: Hagely Oval gets ICC accreditation

Rohit Sharma to make comeback, Manoj Tiwary to lead in practice match against Sri Lanka

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: Venues for 5 ODIs announced

MS Dhoni rested, Virat Kohli to lead in first 3 India vs Sri Lanka ODIs

India suspend bilateral cricket ties with West Indies

India vs Sri Lanka 2014: MS Dhoni gets much-needed break ahead of Australia tour

Virat Kohli becomes fastest to 20 ODI hundreds

A Pakistan all-time XI: A galaxy of captains

James Neesham can provide more impetus to New Zealand’s weakened batting up the order

Virender Sehwag turns 36: Five most memorable innings of the Nawab of Najafgarh

Fan of the Day

Gautam Singh

Gautam Singh

474 Posts | 5 Fans

Video Highlights Mohammed Yousuf drops catch after watching a girl in bikini

Rohit Sharma to make comeback, Manoj Tiwary to lead in practice match against Sri Lanka

ICC World Cup 2015: Hagely Oval gets ICC accreditation

अफ्रीकी संघ ने भारत से चिकित्सकीय मदद मांगी

कैंसर जांच अभियान की शुरुआत: मोदी

Box Cricket League 2014: Natasa Stankovic joins Aly Goni’s team

Bhopal A Prayer For Rain trailer: Kal Penn, Martin Sheen and Rajpal Yadav tell the harrowing tale of Bhopal Gas Tragedy!

Happy New Year: Shah Rukh Khan hurts knee during promotions in Delhi

Abhishek Bachchan: I am very secure as an artiste

Apple Q4 2014 earnings: 39.3 million iPhones, 12.3 million iPads, and 5.5 million Macs sold

5 tips to keep in mind while shopping online

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here