While KL Rahul (90 and 51) was declared ‘man of the match’ in the recently concluded Test in Bangalore, he was actually the second highest impact player – behind Cheteshwar Pujara (17 and 92).
Both produced the highest impact performances in their Test career in a memorable Test for India but Pujara was 6% higher impact despite scoring 32 runs less cumulatively in both innings.
While Rahul was consistent – scoring in both innings – Pujara’s knock in the second innings was more crucial given the context of the match.
India had a deficit to erase and Rahul provided a good start. He was dismissed with the home team three runs adrift and Pujara was soon under pressure at 120 for 4 (effectively 33 for 4). Another wicket then would have swung the balance in favour of the visiting team – something that wasn’t so overwhelmingly the case with Rahul’s dismissals. Pujara, therefore, absorbed the most pressure in the match (12% more than Rahul).
From that juncture, Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane (52) added 118 runs for the fifth wicket. This ensured India built on the lead, eventually giving their bowlers a target to defend – which they did.
Pujara’s knock, therefore, had a higher value than Rahul’s two innings and turned the tide in India’s favour.
Pujara’s second innings performance is a rare one – walking a knife’s edge with Rahane, where either’s dismissal could have ended the match. Much like another famous partnership in March, 2001. Perhaps India should play Australia at home only in March?