Pujara's Cook-like patience flattens Australia
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Pujara's Cook-like patience flattens Australia

Eight years after Alastair Cook surgically dismantled Australia, Cheteshwar Pujara has slowly and surely done the same to embarrass local batsmen and bowlers.

Pujara extended his marathon knock into a fifth session and 548th minute before finally falling on 193, chipping a catch back to Nathan Lyon at the SCG on Friday.

Job done: Cheteshwar Pujara walks off after his brilliant 193.

Job done: Cheteshwar Pujara walks off after his brilliant 193.Credit:AP

Pujara also offered a chance on 192, understandably tiring on the cusp of becoming India's first double-centurion in Australia since Sachin Tendulkar's SCG epic in 2004.

The batsman's highest score outside India and remarkable concentration throughout the series has put India in the box seat for their maiden Test series win in Australia.

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Since 1971, Cook is the only touring batsman to have spent longer at the crease in an Australian Test series.

Cook faced 1438 deliveries in the 2010-11 Ashes, posting three centuries in scoring 766 runs to earn man-of-the-series honours.

Drive: Cheteshwar Pujara's performance in the current series is among the best from a touring batsmen on these shores.

Drive: Cheteshwar Pujara's performance in the current series is among the best from a touring batsmen on these shores.Credit:AAP

The short-term result was England's first successful Ashes tour since 1986-87, completed with a crushing SCG victory of an innings and 83 runs that is Australia's most recent Test loss at the venue.

The long-term effect was more severe for Cricket Australia, which commissioned Don Argus to conduct a warts-and-all appraisal of the sport.

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The seminal review made a series of recommendations, including the creation of the team-performance role that Pat Howard filled until he was fired.

Australia's captain Ricky Ponting, chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch and coach Tim Nielsen all vacated their posts in 2011.

It's far too early to speculate about what impact Pujara's 30-plus hours at the crease, 1258 balls of graft and three centuries will have on Tim Paine's team.

The right-hander's resolute performance came after The Ethics Centre report triggered a shake-up at CA, suggesting there won't be a repeat of the upheaval sparked by Cook's conquest.

But the parallels between the batsmen, unfashionable and obstinate in an age when Twenty20 riches have clearly changed the sport, are clear.

Pujara has likened his approach to meditation, saying the key to such incredible application is clearing all thoughts.

Cook's discipline, developed on the farm and as a choirboy who performed for the Queen, was just as effective throughout a 161-Test career that produced 12,472 runs.

The immovable objects share the same prudent judgment, seemingly impregnable defence and capacity to wait for a bad ball.

In a series where the highest score by an Australian is 72, local batsmen have spoken of how they must follow Pujara's lead.

Australia's star-studded attack, regarding Pujara as an even more vital wicket than Virat Kohli, have also spoken in recent weeks of the need to be more patient than the leading run-scorer of the series.

In both cases, it's far more easily said than done.

AAP

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