Cheteshwar Pujara walks the talk
After returning to the pavilion on Day 2 with an unbeaten 162, Cheteshwar Pujara told bcci.tv that he was determined to convert this big hundred into a double-century. A day later, India’s new No.3 walked into the press conference room with a knock of 204 under his belt.
Pujara rued how he missed on that opportunity the last time he played a Test at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium when he got out on 159 against New Zealand. After scoring his second double-ton, in only his 11th Test, he admitted feeling at home at this ground.
“It helped getting a Test hundred against New Zealand here as coming into this match I knew the conditions and the wicket well,” Pujara said.
Pujara’s brilliant knock ended while attempting the hook – a shot that he plays instinctively, but at times, to a ball that could be left alone. The batsman is mindful of the fact that fast bowlers the world over would be taking notes of him being a compulsive hooker.
“It’s a scoring opportunity but you need to play the shot at the right height. I need to leave the balls, which are above the shoulder. I will surely be working on it,” he said.
Pujara’s knock came en route his mammoth 370-run partnership with Murali Vijay (167), that gave India a first-innings lead of 266. However, it could have been much more had India not lost nine wickets for 116 runs. The collapse took place in the second session of the day when Glenn Maxwell (4/127) and Xavier Doherty (2/131) got the odd ball to spin and bounce.
Pujara said that the wicket has started to assist the bowlers and hoped the Indian spinners would finish things off with a day to spare.
“I think now there’s a bit of help for the spinners as the ball has started to turn a little more with the odd one jumping. That’s the reason the wickets fell today.
“The Australian batsmen don’t know how to bat on turning tracks, so they need to apply themselves much better. Our spinners have exploited their weakness well and they need to continue doing the same,” he said.
Ending the day at 74 for two, Australia are still 192 runs behind in their second innings and will have to bat out of their skin to avoid a setback of 0-2 in the Test series.