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By Chetan Narula
Nottingham: Jul 12, 2014
Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on Saturday said that his team’s bowling performances in the first Test versus England was up to the mark and they should not be too disappointed with the 198-run world record stand for the last wicket between Joe Root and James Anderson.
Root remained unbeaten on 154 while Anderson (81) produced his maiden Test half-century in England’s total of 496 all out before the host bowlers rattled India with two quick wickets towards the end of the fourth day.
“The wicket has been the same for all days so far. Perhaps it has gotten a little slower today. It is not easy to get wickets on this pitch. When the ball is hard and new, you can still get something out of the pitch but it isn’t easy to bowl with the old ball. You can either get the batsmen out caught or LBW. So it was quite frustrating to watch their last wicket stand. The ball isn’t turning much and there is no help for the faster bowlers. So overall, we shouldn’t be too disappointed with the way we bowled on this pitch,” said Pujara.
England finished with a first-innings lead of 39 runs over India’s score of 457. The visitors reached 167 for three in their second innings at stumps with a 128-run lead. “Root tried to face the first 2-3 balls of every over and they farmed the strike really well. Their plan worked out in the end. It was Anderson’s best Test score so we know he batted well. We could have got his wicket a little earlier maybe, but credit to them for the way they batted. The kind of wicket it is also didn’t make our task easy,” Pujara said.
The Indian number three batsman, who made a half-century today, was also effusive in his praise of Root. “He is a good batsman and I have been following him since the 2012-13 tour of England when he came to India and scored runs there as well. Of course we respect him as a batsman but we need to find out ways to get him early the next time he bats. At the same time, we also need plans for tail-enders as well. The way they batted in this match has really hurt us,” he said.
Pujara was dismissed for 55 runs just ahead of close of play and after scoring just 38 in the first innings it was obvious that he has missed out on an easy pitch. “Yes, I am disappointed with the way I got out. I could have batted more responsibly given that the end of play was close by and we had just lost Murali Vijay before that. But the ball bounced a little more and I couldn’t control it enough. I couldn’t capitalise on the pitch we have here,” he added.
When asked about India’s plans for day five, Pujara replied, “We are just looking to bat well tomorrow. The first session is very important so we need to do well. There is not much time left in the match.”
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