Cheteshwar Pujara’s teammates believe the patient anchorman’s run-scoring has put India on track for a breakthrough win against Australia in the first Test.
India will resume on Sunday’s fourth day in Adelaide at 3-151 – a lead of 166 runs – with Pujara unbeaten on 40.
The Indians have never won a first Test in their 11 previous series in Australia.
But fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah says the tourists are bullish about their chances of taking a 1-0 lead in this four-Test series.
“It’s slightly in our favour,” Bumrah said.
“The first session will be a very important session. If we capitalise on that, it will leave us in a very good place this match.”
Pujara has followed his sterling first-innings 123 with another valuable knock.
The right-hander, having faced 246 balls in his first-innings epic, has soaked up a further 127 deliveries in the second dig.
“He has shown a lot of patience. That is the key and the main thing in Test cricket,” said Bumrah, who took 3-47 from 24 overs in Australia’s innings.
“He (Pujara) knows his game in and out; he knows his strengths.
“He knows to leave the ball well – he’s playing with the bowler’s patience as well.”
Australian batsman Travis Head, who top-scored with 72 in the home side’s first innings, said Pujara had demonstrated how to play on the Adelaide pitch.
“The way he played in the first innings was the blueprint for this wicket,” Head said.
“He had a really good leaving game, good forward defence.
“As the ball got softer, he got more runs, knowing how hard the wicket can be with the … new ball.”
The highest successful fourth-innings run chase in an Adelaide Test is Australia’s 6-315 to beat England in 1902.
But the average fourth-innings Test score in Adelaide is 213, suggesting the current Australians have little wriggle room.