The right-hander, who has been plying his trade with Yorkshire in county cricket this year, had returned to India for Afghanistan’s inaugural Test. He scored 35 runs in India’s first innings as the debutants folded inside two days at Bengaluru.
With the Test ending much earlier than expected, Pujara jetted back to England to join up with his Yorkshire team-mates for the Royal London One-Day Cup. The India man was then picked in the playing XI for Yorkshire’s semi-final clash against Hampshire on Monday. The right-hander was initially not supposed to play in the clash owing to his India commitments.
However, his unexpected return did not turn out as he would have hoped for after he was dismissed for a duck by Dale Steyn.
Led by a superb 171 by skipper James Vince, Hampshire had amassed a massive total of 348 after being made to bat first by Yorkshire skipper Steven Patterson. In reply, Yorkshire’s top-order failed to fire as the side was ultimately bowled out for just 241 runs.
Pujara, who came to the crease after the dismissal of opening batsman Adam Lyth, lasted just four deliveries before becoming Steyn’s only dismissal of the match.
The India man had no answer to the sharp bounce generated by the Proteas pace ace and could only feather an edge Jimmy Adams at first slip.
It is to be noted that Pujara was having a fine run in the One-Day Cup prior to his return to India for the Afghanistan Test. After disappointing in the first-class matches for Yorkshire, the 30-year-old had put on scores of 82, 73, 101 and 75no to lead the county outfit’s march to the semi-final of the List A competition.
While the ramifications of the ball-tampering episode that occurred on the tour of South Africa are still biting Australian cricket, pacer Josh Hazlewood has spoken up on the on the events preceding the infamous incident.
The ugly episode saw skipper Steve Smith and deputy David Warner being handed a one-year ban from international and domestic cricket by Cricket Australia while Cameron Bancroft was handed a nine-month sentence.
Hazlewood has revealed that it was the motto of winning ‘at all costs’ that proved to be the undoing for the Australian team in the end.
“It’s a big tour always South Africa, coming off the back of an Ashes as well which was quite stressful,” Hazlewood told News Corp. “All big tours are stressful and that added pressure we probably put on ourselves as much as anyone to win.
“Where the stress has come from is that we are pretty much measured on our cricket ability, not as people off the field, which we had probably got away from in the past six months, 12 months.
“A focus only on results I guess drives people to do different things and we are only measured on our cricket success,” he added.
“I don’t think that’s how it is now, I think that’s changed a little bit, JL (Justin Langer) has talked a lot about how we are behaving off the field and we are going to be measured on that as well which is a good sign.”
The 27-year-old pacer also revealed his surprise to the reaction the incident generated in the media.
“We went to bed that night and Australia hadn’t woken up yet, when it hit back in Australia and we woke up it was quite surprising how big a reaction it was,” said the NSW Blues paceman.
“It wasn’t massive in South Africa, all the Australian writers know it’s going on here and there and around different teams and people have been done in the past, I guess they talked it down a bit if anything but once it hit home the media went the other way and the reaction was massive,” he explained.
The Australian dressing room culture shift has been talked about greatly by new coach Justin Langer and captain Tim Paine.
Both of them have alluded to wanting to change the cut-throat environment in the dressing room as they seek to commence a new chapter for Australian cricket following the public outcry over the scandal.
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