Cricket

Wanderers wicket was one of toughest to play, says Pujara

[caption id="attachment_62089" align="alignnone" width="580"]ROY97315 Cheteshwar Pujara on his way to a defiant 50 runs on Day 1 of the Wanderers test. Image Source: BCCI[/caption]

Debasis Sen, Johannesburg: India middle order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on Wednesday described the Wanderers wicket as one of the toughest he has played on. Pujara played a resilient knock of 50 runs which lasted for 261 minutes at the crease. The Sourashtra batsman took 54 balls to get off the mark and, when he eventually did, he was greeted by a hearty round of ironic applause from the small yet vocal crowd of supporters at the Bull Ring.

Pujara’s knock has given India something to work with in this Test match after they were bowled out for 187 on day one of the third Test. His 84 runs partnership with Captain Virat Kohli may well prove to be a valuable one in the context of the match.

"This is one of the toughest wickets I have ever played on. It was difficult to score some runs, especially in the first session. It was difficult to rotate the strike. It has a lot of bounce, it has seam movement. And there is enough pace now. So we had to work hard to score runs, but the total we have (187) I think it is as good as scoring 300 on any wicket," Pujara said after the first days play.

Despite the challenges, Pujara believes that India is in a good position in the Test.

“I think we’ll be looking to get them out before 150. And obviously, looking at this total I think the second innings will be very important. Seeing the weather forecast, I think it will be overcast and there will be more help for the fast bowlers, so the first session tomorrow will be very crucial for us,” said Pujara.

Pujara was criticised heavily after he ran himself out twice in the Centurion test. On being asked whether it worked as an extra motivation, Pujara said, “Well it was a bit unfortunate because I was looking really good even in the last Test match. The way I was batting, I felt in. But it was a bit unfortunate that I was run out in both innings. That was a tough time. I don’t think any cricketer would (want to) get out twice (run out) in one Test match. That is something that I’d like to forget and move on. But yes, the way I was batting today, I’m very happy with it.”

Pujara feel the first session tomorrow will be very crucial for India. “I think we’ll be looking to get them out before 150. And obviously, looking at this total I think the second innings will be very important. Seeing the weather forecast, I think it will be overcast and there will be more help for the fast bowlers, so the first session will be very crucial for us,” said Pujara.

Pujara defended Virat’s decision to bat first on a green Wanderers wicket.

“I think as the game progresses, we are very sure that this wicket will be difficult to bat on. As we saw even in the later stages of today, the cracks are opening up and a couple of balls deviated a lot. I mean, I haven’t seen deviation like that before. As the game progresses I think this wicket will have variable bounce and cracks will open up, so it will be difficult to bat on. That’s the reason we chose to bat first,” signed off Pujara.

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