Team had the belief that Pandya can turn things round, says Pujara

[caption id="attachment_61179" align="alignnone" width="580"]DSC08148 Hardik Pandya during the second day of the first test match against South Africa at Newlands. Image Source: Xtra Time[/caption]

Debasis Sen, Cape Town: Indian middle order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on Saturday reaped lavish praise on Hardik Pandya for his blazing knock of 93 runs on the second day of the first test match against South Africa at Newlands.  Pandya scored a 95-ball 93 to guide India to 209 in reply to South Africa’s first innings score of 286.

According to Pujara, “He batted really well and showed a lot of character. He hasn’t played many Test matches away from home but the kind of innings (he played) we expected it from him if he played in the playing XI.”

Pandya, who is hailed as the potential match winning all-rounder for India brought smiles back in the Indian dressing room after looking down the barrel at lunch on Day 2.

Pujara revealed Pandya’s knock had a positive effect on the dressing room. “I think everyone did believe that he can play such innings, and once he played that the environment in the dressing room was quite positive because those runs were very important for the team, kept us in the game. If he hadn’t scored those runs, we would have been under trouble. So I think he kept us in the game and got us two wickets also at the end of day’s play. So his performance was outstanding,”

Pandya’s knock was studded with 14 boundaries and one huge six. The Mumbai Indians all-rounder opened his hands once Saha was dismissed. It reminded everyone of the knock that he played against Sri Lanka at Pallekele where he scored a century (108 runs) in only the first session.

“I think it was a case of him (Pandya) playing his natural game. He is someone who likes to play his shots. That’s how he would bat in any situation. This was the ideal situation for him to express himself and I have seen I think the moment he tries playing his shots he has been successful. We have seen that against Sri Lanka as well. When he started playing his shots he was a different player altogether. That’s how he should be playing and this is what makes him a different player from a top order batsman,” said Pujara.

Pandya since making his test debut against Sri Lanka added a lot of balance to the side.

“I think if someone who is very promising, he is batting well, bowling well, it makes a lot of difference to the team because when you have a very good all-rounder, it balances your team combination. I hope he continues with this.”

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