Pleasure to watch a positive Sachin: Pujara
If Team India are to pick one massive positive from their batting struggles since the retirements of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, it has to be the advent of Cheteshwar Pujara. The unassuming and focused young man was the only Indian batsman to stand up to the English bowlers during the home Test series defeat last year.
With India reeling with the loss of their openers for 11 runs in the ongoing Chennai Test, it was Pujara who once again came to the team’s rescue. For company, he had a back-in-form Sachin Tendulkar.
Together, the oldest and the youngest batsman of Team India put up 93 runs to dig India out of the hole. “At 11 for 2, it was really important for us to build a partnership and the one between Sachin paaji and me was very crucial to set up the innings,” Pujara said at the end of the day.
Since finding his settled place in the Test team, Pujara had never seen Tendulkar bat in a Test match with the authority he’s been known for. But the way the master went about his innings today, gave his young batting partner a first-hand experience of watching Tendulkar at his best from the other end.
“When Sachin paaji came in to bat, he was on the mark right from the first ball. He got three boundaries in the first over itself. I have never seen him in such positive mindset before. It was a pleasure watching him bat today,” Pujara gushed.
With both batsmen going strong, Pujara fell against the run of play to a ball from James Pattinson that kept a little low. Pujara, however, refused to cite the uneven bounce as an excuse, admitted that he lost the ball when it was half way through from the bowler’s hand.
“On the Indian wickets you expect uneven bounce. We’re used to it so it’s not a big problem for us,” Pujara said. “The ball I got out to kept a little low but the reason I got out was that I was a little late on the ball as I couldn’t sight the ball after it was half way through.”
Pujara said the Indian batsmen were prepared to counter the reverse swing, given that was the main weapon for the pace-packed Australian attack.
“They were getting the ball to reverse but we were prepared for it. We knew that with a pace-heavy attack they will rely a lot on reverse swing as in the Indian conditions there’s not much of seam movement. They were trying to get the ball as early as possible so they could reverse it.
“During the partnership we were talking about how the ball was moving after the reverse swing started to happen. We spoke which way each bowler got the ball to move – in or away. That communication was really important while batting,” he said.
Pujara rated Pattinson, who picked all three Indian wickets to fall on the day, as Australia’s best bowler so far.