Cheteshwar Pujara taking pressure off Virat Kohli is massive reason for India’s series win: Damien Martyn
Marathon Man: Cheteshwar Pujara has faced 1258 balls in this series. © AFP

Former Australia batsman Damien Martyn has heralded Cheteshwar Pujara’’s batting in the ongoing Test series as “massive” for India, who have retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy by going up 2-1 and are staring at the country’s first Test series win on Australian soil.

Crease occupation has been Pujara’s forte all series, and Friday’s 373-ball 193 took his tally of balls faced in the series to 1258, meaning he claimed the record for visiting batsmen in a series of four Tests or less on Australian soil. Overall for visiting batsmen in Australia, Pujara’s 1258 deliveries consumed this series ranks as the ninth most.

His series returns of 521 runs in seven innings is the third best for a visiting Indian batsman in Australia after Virat Kohli’s 692 scored in 2014-15 and Rahul Dravid’s 619 from the 2003-04 tour. Only Kohli, with four, has scored more than three Test hundreds in a series in Australia. (ALSO READ: Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant hundreds headline India’s march to 622/7)

According to Martyn, who played 67 Tests for Australia, Pujara’s batting took pressure of Kohli in this series.

“Look at those stats. Its not everyday that someone comes to Australia and performs that way,” said Martyn on a show for ESPNcricinfo. “Three Tests hundreds … he’s up there with Kohli and [Sachin] Tendulkar, so he’s been outstanding which is the resolve of just batting a long time. It’s old school Test cricket, which I think nowadays lacks a bit.

“You don’t see a lot of players coming through now with that kind of skill. For Test cricket this works and it works for Kohli and the Indian cricket team.They can bat around him [Pujara] and it takes pressure of Kohli. He’s been one of the massive reasons why they’ve won this series.”

India declared their innings at 622/7 on Friday, with Rishabh Pant scoring 159* and Ravindra Jadeja 81 in a seventh-wicket stand worth 204.