Team India Test specialists Cheteshwar Pujara talked about his strategy in first two sessions during the opening day’s play against Australia in the first Pink ball Test on Thursday. After the early depature of Indian openers, Pujara played cautiously as he took 148 balls to hit his first boundary.
Pujara played a gritty knock off 43 runs in 160 balls in which he hit four boundaries, before getting dismissed by veterean Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
Asked if he felt that he could have paced his innings better, the Saurashtra man had an emphatic no for an answer.
“Not at all. We were in a very good position in the first two sessions,” said Pujara, defending the 41 scored by the team in the first session and 66 runs that were scored in the second.
“We needed to make sure that we don’t lose wickets when the ball is swinging. It was a great day of Test cricket and there are no regrets at all about the strategy. We couldn’t have lost more wickets playing shots and getting bowled in a day,” said Pujara.
Pujara talked about the conditions in Adelaide and said Test cricket needs patience.
“Test cricket needs patience. If the wicket is flat, then you can be aggressive but when it’s helping the bowlers, you can’t play a lot of shots,”
Pujara feels in overseas conditions batsmen need to be cautious in the first two sessions as the bowlers and pitch are fresh.
“In overseas conditions, you don’t want a total of less than 200 runs (in first innings). In the first two sessions, the bowlers are fresh and the pitch is fresh,” he said.
Pujara believes that the match is evenly poised after India ended the day at 233 for 6.
However, he conceded that skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane’s dismissal will surely provide a “little bit of advantage” to Australia.
“We got into a very good position against Australia (even) after losing couple of early wickets. Virat, Ajinkya – they were both crucial wickets but I still feel that we are just six down. Ash (Ashwin) can bat, Wriddhi (Wriddhiman) Saha can bat and even our lower order will try and contribute as many runs as possible, so we still have a pretty good chance of getting close to 275-300 and if the lower-order bats well we can get 350 also. So yes, there was a stage we were in a dominating position but after losing Virat and Ajinkya they have a little bit of advantage. I still feel we are evenly-placed in the match,” said Pujara.
During his gritty knock, Pujara struggled a couple of times against Lyon before getting dismissed by him. The 29-year-old heaped huge praise on Lyon and said you need to to prepared to face his challenge.
“He gets a lot of revs (revolutions) on the ball. His line and length have really improved. He likes taking the challenge and while facing him, you also need to be prepared to face that challenge,” he said.