Cheteshwar Pujara continued his outstanding form in red-ball cricket in the domestic circuit as he helped his state side Saurashtra chase down a record total in the Ranji Trophy first-class tournament.
Pujara was declared player of the series during the Border Gavaskar Test series in Australia as he scored 521 runs to help India secure a 2-1 series win.
After facing the excellent Australian pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins, Pujara was expected to come good against local Indian bowlers.
In the second innings for Saurashtra against Uttar Pradesh in the Raji Trophy quarter-final, Pujara hit an unbeaten 67 to help chase down a 372-run target. Harvik Desai’s century at the top of the innings had set the stage for a victory charge. It was the highest successful run chase in Ranji Trophy history.
Meanwhile, Pujara’s fellow India Test team-mate Umesh Yadav showed he remains a master of Indian conditions as he picked up nine wickets in his team’s Ranji quarter-final win.
Umesh played the Perth Test during the Australia tour and failed to exert much control. However, as has been the case for many years, Umesh proved his mastery over Indian conditions in red-ball cricket as he picked up 4-90 in the first innings and 5-23 in the second to seal an innings win over Uttarakhand.
In the semi-finals, Saurashtra play Karnataka while Vidarbha face Kerala.
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Following on from their maiden Test series on Australian soil, the Men in Blue showed great character to complete a come-from-behind victory in the ODIs.
At the end of a hard-fought series, we rate on 10 how India skipper Virat Kohli and his men fared across the three matches.
Shikhar Dhawan – 4
A rare series failure for the usually prolific opening batsman. Dhawan failed to get going in all three of his innings while being dismissed for a golden duck in the first ODI.
Rohit Sharma – 7
The India deputy skipper started the series with a bang with a well-crafted century in the loss at Sydney before following it up with a fine 43 at Adelaide. Fell cheaply in the decider though.
Virat Kohli – 7
The India skipper did not last long at the crease in Sydney but then showed his class in the format with his 39th ODI ton to lead the team to a win at Adelaide. Was looking good for a half-century in Melbourne before falling to Jhye Richardson for the third time in the series.
Ambati Rayudu – 3
Twin failures in the first two ODIs saw Rayudu being ultimately dropped for the series decider. This series could result in him falling down the pecking order and being reported for a suspect bowling action will only add insult to injury.
MS Dhoni – 9
The veteran wicketkeeper was somewhat unfairly criticised for his painstakingly slow half-century in the loss at Sydney but proved how valuable he still is to the ODI outfit with two unbeaten fifties at Adelaide and Melbourne. Deservedly walked away with the man-of-the-series award.
Dinesh Karthik – 6
Tasked with the finisher’s role in the series, Karthik failed to make the most of his opportunity in the first ODI but played a match-winning cameo in Adelaide to lead India over the line. Did not get a chance to bat in the decider.
Kedar Jadhav – 8
The middle-order batsman was brought into the playing XI for the decider and it proved to be a masterstroke by Kohli with Jadhav’s unbeaten fifty paving the path for India’s victory.
Ravindra Jadeja – 7
Thrust into the all-rounder’s role in the absence of Hardik Pandya, Jadeja was fairly economical with his bowling in the three clashes and excellent as usual in the field.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar – 8
Although he was a tad expensive in the series opener, Bhuvneshwar bounced back strongly with two excellent displays in Adelaide and Melbourne. Finished as the highest wicket-taker in the series with eight scalps to his name.
Kuldeep Yadav – 6
Not the best of series for the wrist-spinner who was flying in 2018. He was safely negotiated for the most part by Australia’s batsmen before being dropped in favour of Yuzvendra Chahal in the decider.
Yuzvendra Chahal – 8
Getting his first taste of the action in the series in the pressure-cooker of a decider, Chahal proved to be the game-changer with a six-wicket haul. His figures of 6-42 are the best ever by any Indian bowler at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Vijay Shankar – 6
The all-rounder was brought into the squad to replace Pandya and he was a decent addition to the playing XI in the decider with six economical overs.
Mohammed Shami – 7
Shami proved to be an excellent partner with the ball for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and looked good in all three matches. He has worked himself back into the reckoning for the World Cup with this series.
Mohammed Siraj – 4
The pacer was handed his ODI debut in the clash at Adelaide but proved to be highly expensive as he went for 76 runs in his 10 overs. Was dropped after that performance.
Khaleel Ahmed – 4
The left-armed pacer leaked runs in the first ODI and that proved to be the end of his tour with Kohli not opting for his services in Adelaide and Melbourne.
Both are World Cup winners and have scored more than 10,000 runs in ODIs. And both are undisputed champions when it comes to chasing totals in 50-over cricket.
Kohli and Dhoni thrive in the pressure of a big chase and on Tuesday, showed why fans expect them to succeed almost every time they go out to bat in the second innings of a one-dayer.
Kohli scored his 39th ODI century while Dhoni remained unbeaten on 55 – his 69th fifty in the format – to steer India home to a six-wicket win chasing 299 in the Adelaide ODI against Australia to level the series.
After the stunning effort, both Kohli and Dhoni now average more than 99 in successful ODI chases.
Dhoni has scored 2,696 runs in 72 successful chases at an average of 99.85 with two tons and 18 fifties.
In 77 successful efforts in the second innings, Kohli has amassed a mind-boggling 4,853 runs at an average of 99.04 with a 21 centuries and 19 fifties.
The next best on the ODI list are Australian great Michael Bevan (averaging scoring 1,725 runs in 45 innings at 86.25) and South Africa icon AB de Villiers ( 2,566 runs in 59 innings at an average of 82.77).
Needless to day, no player in history comes close to the number of runs Kohli has scored in successful chases in ODIs.