Cheteshwar Pujara admitted on Monday that although he knew he and Wriddhiman Saha had to dug in deep to bail India cricket team out of trouble vs Australia cricket team in the third Test at Ranchi, he never expected to play the 525 deliveries he faced to notch up his third double hundred. (Day 5 Highlights)
“I think it was much-needed for the team,” said Cheteshwar Pujara, at the post-match ceremony after being adjudged as the Man of the Match.
“When Wriddhi came in, we had a chat we needed a big partnership. I never thought I would play so many balls, but once I was in I knew I had to bat long to reach close to their total.”
On being reminded that he had struck 21 boundaries without a single six, Pujara said he curbed his temptations to play according to the situation.
The 199-run partnership put up by Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha, who also scored a fine hundred, was also the highest seventh-wicket stand for India.
“I do get tempted to hit in the air but you have to look at the bigger picture. There was a situation when we couldn’t afford to lose another wicket, so I had to restrict myself. It is natural. I don’t think I need any external motivation,” he said.
“They scored 450, to come back, go past that total, and put them under such pressure, but Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb batted really well. You get fatigued, but I have been working hard on my fitness, careful with my diet, and hoping to recover soon for the big Test coming up.”
Captain Virat Kohli was in full praise for Pujara as well, stating that this was the best innings he had seen of the Saurashtra batsman. “We batted beautifully. KL and M Vijay, but the partnership between Saha and Pujara is the best I have seen. Pujara is very motivated, and he is really good at test batting. This is the best I have watched him bat.”