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Cheteshwar Pujara confident India will uproot defensive England, win Vizag Test

England opener Alastair Cook and young Haseeb Hameed hung in for 50 overs before falling, but Cheteshwar Pujara says India will force a win on Day 5 as the others won’t be able to defend and ensure a draw.

cricket Updated: Nov 20, 2016 21:42 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times
Cheteshwar Pujara,India vs England,Vizag Test
Cheteshwar Pujara had scored a century in the Indian first innings against England in Vizag, and, alongside skipper Virat Kohli, had put the visitors on the back foot.(REUTERS)

England defended to the hilt on Sunday, but Cheteshwar Pujara is confident the hosts will wrap up victory as it won’t be easy to keep blocking the entire fifth day. (Vizag Test: Day 4 Scorecard)

“I don’t think it will be an easy task to bat on this wicket,” he said. “Here, if you play defensively also, it is not very easy. This wicket is such that if you play defensive, it is slightly difficult to get a batsman out, but still as we saw today, there is low bounce. One or two balls from Ashwin bounced, and from the rough Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) was able to get a lot of bounce. Even if you play defensively, it won’t be easy.” (Vizag Test, Day 4 Highlights)

The two spinners removed openers Haseeb Hameed and skipper Alastair Cook before stumps. Although their stand lasted 50 overs, Pujara didn’t see the remaining batsmen holding on to pull off a draw.

“When you have 400 runs (target) on the board,it is never easy playing in Indian conditions, chasing on day four and five. Not many teams have done it. I don’t think it would have (opening stand) given them any psychological advantage because ultimately our target was to get close to 400 runs and we achieved it.”

India have exhausted their two reviews, but Pujara defended the decision to use them in consecutive overs. Jadeja’s review against Cook made sense but Ashwin forced Virat Kohlito seek one against the England skipper when keeper Wriddhiman Saha wasn’t sure. “It was the right call because we wanted wickets. The close-in fielders also thought it was close.”

Asked if India had a fair idea of how DRS worked, he said, “As a fielding unit, we knew when to opt for DRS. While batting as well we have a clear plan and both batsmen decide.”

However, winning won’t be easy. “We know they are capable of batting well, so we won’t take things for granted. Tomorrow, we will definitely have to go hard at them, but we are prepared. Our bowlers, and as a team, are prepared to be in a situation where we have to work hard for wickets when we see a victory. I don’t know in how many overs, but we’ve a very good chance.”

First Published: Nov 20, 2016 21:38 IST