Missing ton in practice match against England inspired Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara scored an unbeaten 206 against England on the second of the first Test at Ahmedabad on Friday Getty Images

Ahmedabad: Nov 16, 2012

Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored his maiden Test double century in India’s mammoth first innings total against England, on Friday said that missing out on a hundred against the same opposition in the warm-up game inspired him to score big in the first Test.

“I got out for 87 in the practice match (for Mumbai ‘A’ before the series). That inspired me to score a hundred and then a double hundred,” said Pujara, who batted for close to nine hours for his unconquered knock of 206 runs in India’s first innings total of 521 for eight declared.

The 24-year-old Saurashtra batsman, who became the sixth Indian batsman to record a double ton against England, said he was comfortable against all the opposition bowlers on the slow-paced, low bounce track of the Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera.

“I faced all the bowlers except (Graeme) Swann in that game. I was watchful for a few overs against him and then I was comfortable against all the bowlers,” said Pujara.

Pujara has taken the crucial number three spot vacated by Rahul Dravid, who retired from international cricket in March this year, and the Saurashtra batsman said it brings a lot of responsibility with it.

“It’s always important to bat up the order. Batting at number three is a huge responsibility. You are most of the time facing the new ball,” said the Rajkot-born player, who has consistently scored big in the domestic circuit to make his way into the Indian squad.

Pujara also informed that he received a congratulatory message from Dravid hailing his performance.

“I got a message from Dravid congratulating me.”

Pujara said that India were always targeting a score in excess of 500 and with England’s three wickets down already, their batting looks ‘fragile’ on a turning track.

“We were always targeting the 500-run mark and now have got it. There is a lot of rough and the ball is turning quite big. We can get them out tomorrow and then press for victory.

It is going to be difficult for them. They look to be fragile from what we saw today,” Pujara said.

“I never like to get out. I always put a price on my wicket. That is the reason I never wanted to give away my wicket. That is the reason for being able to score big runs”, he said.

Asked about his future strategy, Pujara said he is taking one match at a time and focused on the task at hand.

“Right now, I am concentrating on getting big runs and taking one match at a time. I batted well in the New Zealand series and got a lot of confidence. I always believe in preparations,” said Pujara, who got his maiden century against New Zealand at Hyderabad in August when he cracked 159.

The batsman credited Indian coach Duncan Fletcher for his insights.

“He asked me to keep things simple and has given me some tips which have been helpful.”