Aussies discover rival star’s kryptonite

Cheteshwar Pujara was seemingly unstoppable when he toured Australia in the 2018/19 summer.

The Indian batsman faced 1258 deliveries in four Tests, cautiously plundering three centuries in a Player of the Series performance.

He was disciplined and patient, unfazed by scoring rates. Pujara refused to give away his wicket, slowly tiring out the Australian bowlers.

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But Pujara hasn’t had the same impact this summer. Although he lasted 176 deliveries in the first innings of the New Year’s Test, he only contributed 50 runs to the team’s tally.

The Australians have seemingly unearthed Pujara’s kryptonite, and his name is Pat Cummins.

Cummins has removed Pujara four times in the 2020/21 Border Gavaskar Trophy thus far, becoming the first cricketer to achieve the feat in a Test series.

Pujara v Cummins in this series

Balls Faced – 129
Runs Scored – 19
Wickets – 4 #AUSvIND

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Remarkably, each of those dismissals were from edges – three caught by wicketkeeper Tim Paine and the other caught at gully by Cameron Green.

Considering Pujara has only been able to muster 19 runs against Cummins this summer, it’s fair to say the 27-year-old has discovered a new bunny.

Pujara threatened to compile another marathon innings at the SCG on Saturday, before the Australian vice-captain ended his defiant knock once again.

Cummins generated some extra bounce off the deck, and the ball flicked Pujara’s gloves on the way through to Paine behind the stumps.

The dismissal sparked a collapse of 4/21 in Sydney, with Pujara’s teammates unable to revive the innings.

Cummins finished the innings with superb figures of 4/29 off 21.4 overs. As revealed by ESPNcricinfo’s Andrew McGlashan, his innings economy rate is the lowest for an Australia bowler sending down at least 20 overs since Mitchell Johnson against Pakistan in 2014.

They should put Pat Cummins’ face on the back of coins.

Of Australian men with more Test wickets than Pat Cummins (156), nobody has a superior strike rate and only Alan Davison a better average. @1116sen #AUSvIND

Cummins has shown in this Test why he is the best Test bowler in this world. Pujara’s wicket, fourth time he has got him in this series, feels like the decisive turn in this Test #INDvsAUS

Cricket reporter Melinda Farrell tweeted: “Pat Cummins is just relentlessly accurate. Can make things happen when, by rights, he shouldn‘t be able to.”

With 157 wickets in 33 Test matches, he is slowly cementing himself as one of Australian cricket’s modern greats.

India was bowled out for 244, trailing in the first innings by 94 runs.

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