'I had a clear game plan': Pujara on getting hit 11 times on Day 5 of 4th Test
- Pujara opened up on his decision to not defend the rising deliveries with his bat and why he instead chose to get hit on the body.
India's victory in Brisbane in the fourth Test match against Australia was a result of a lot of toil and sweat as well as physical pain for one man. Cheteshwar Pujara was hit 11 times on the body, including dangerous blows on the helmet on the final day as the Australian pace battery tried its best to remove the biggest thorn in their flash.
But Pujara bore it all without giving an inch to the opposition. He dug his heels deep in the crease and played 211 deliveries to blunt the Aussie attack. The India number 3 gave an insight into his approach on the final day of the Brisbane Test during an interview.
"I had a clear game plan, which was to make sure that we did not lose a wicket in the first session ... or try and lose as as few wickets as possible in the first session ... because that would give them [Australia] an advantage moving into the second and third sessions. Fortunately, we just lost one wicket in the first session and my game plan was very clear: even if I don't get too many runs in the first session, I'll just stick around and try and get set and then try and accelerate in the second and third sessions.
"Which is what happened. Fortunately I was not out going into the lunch session, though I didn't get too many runs, and I was very confident that I'd be able to accelerate in the second session," Pujara told senior cricket journalists Jamie Alter and Meha Bhardwaj Alter on their Youtube channel 'Cricket Fables'.
Pujara also spoke about why he decided not to defend those rising deliveries with the bat as it would have created an element of risk and also gave an insight into the vagaries of the final day pitch at the Gabba.
"Getting hit on the head wasn't very painful because you have the protection of a helmet. Yes, it looks very scary when you're watching on TV and even as a batter you don't want to get hit on the helmet ... forget about the pain and the bruises ... but talking about that pitch, I feel it had variable bounce. Especially from one end, the ball wasn't rising much and then at times it was rising more than what I was expecting. It was becoming very difficult to defend those balls with the bat.
"There was the option of defending with the bat, but it wasn't the safe option because the ball could hit your glove and go to short leg, leg slip or gully or you can be out caught-behind. So I wanted to rule that option out. That is why I was taking blows on my body," he said.
Pujara, who scored 56 priceless runs in the fourth innings at Brisbane, said that some of the blows were extremely painful.
"Getting hit on the helmet? Yeah, it wasn't ideal but I wasn't worried about it because I knew that as long as I'm there and as long as I'm getting hit on the body and not getting out, it's fine. A couple of blows were really painful. The one which hit me below the shoulder the second time was a little more painful, and the most painful one was the one where I got hit on my finger, because that was the second time that I got hit there.
"Before the third Test match, during practice at Melbourne, I got hit on that finger so I was carrying that injury into the third and fourth Test matches. Well, I wouldn't call it an injury but yeah, there was a bit of bruising on that finger," he said.