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Posted at: Jan 11, 2019, 7:31 AM; last updated: Jan 11, 2019, 7:31 AM (IST)

Langer hails Pujara’s concentration powers

Langer hails Pujara’s concentration powers
Cheteshwar Pujara (center)

Sydney, January 10

Australia coach Justin Langer on Thursday said he has never seen a batsman concentrate as hard as Cheteshwar Pujara, who beats even the great Sachin Tendulkar in that respect. India won the four-match Test series 2-1 against Australia, with Pujara fetching the Man of the Series award with a total of 521 runs, including three hundreds. 

Langer said Pujara’s concentration was a challenge for his bowlers.  “...I have never seen a batsman watch the ball as closely as he (Pujara) does, and that includes Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. His concentration was a challenge. And we have to keep getting better just like him, all our batsmen and bowlers,” Langer said. 

Langer said his bowlers were stretched to the limit in the Test series, especially in Melbourne and Sydney.  “The guys are working very hard and they are going okay. The first innings in Melbourne and Sydney, honestly, sucked the life out of us because when you are in the field for two days, with only one spin bowler, that takes energy out of the group,” he said ahead of ODI series starting on Saturday.  “We have the best spinner and three outstanding pace bowlers, against the outstanding Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli. So it takes some mental and physical energy out.

“There are new players and new staff for these three games, so that brings new energy to the group,” he added.  Australia’s fast bowlers drew criticism for failing to be as effective as India’s pace battery but Langer backed them. “They copped pretty strong criticism . But on two very flat wickets they kept running in hard and having a go and, in this instance, they were beaten by a brilliant Indian side. We were beaten by a better side,” he conceded. 

Challenge in ODIs as big as in Tests for the hosts

Langer said the challenge is ever present for his side despite a change in format as the Indian ODI team is just as strong as the Test team. 

“After losing in 2001, in 2004 when we finally beat India in India at Nagpur, without doubt that was the Everest moment of my cricket career. So I am sure for most of the Indian players, especially Virat Kohli, it feels the same but when you are at the top, things are on the way down,” he warned the visitors.

“They will be very buoyed and excited but we plan to fight for everything. They have a good ODI team and we are up against it. Let’s hope we are better than we were in Tests,” Langer said. — PTI

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