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India capable of chasing down 350 at Newlands vs South Africa: Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara feels that India can chase down a total of around 350 vs South Africa in the Newlands Test.

cricket Updated: Jan 07, 2018 10:34 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha
Hindustan Times, Cape Town
Cheteshwar Pujara,India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India
India's Cheteshwar Pujara avoids being hit during the first Test vs South Africa at Newlands.(Reuters)

Cheteshwar Pujara feels India are capable of pulling off a chase of 350 in the first Test in Newlands here. South Africa have an overall lead of 142 and are poised for more with eight wickets remaining but Pujara is confident of a better show by the top order next time they bat.

“We don’t want to chase too many runs but at the same time, the way the wicket is behaving, anywhere around 350 will be chase-able. In the first innings, the top-order obviously didn’t click but second innings we will put up a better show and if we continue to bat well, we can definitely get more than 350,” said Pujara at a press conference after end of play on Day 2.

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Pujara was an epitome of patience and restraint in a testing morning session but was dismissed first ball of the post-lunch session, sending India into a period of uncertainty before Hardik Pandya pitched in with a 95-ball 93. And he admitted he shouldn’t have messed with that Vernon Philander delivery.

“I should have left the ball alone. It was outside the off-stump. I made a mistake and got out. It deviated a little more than what I expected but at the same time I made the mistake and had to pay the price for it,” said Pujara, adding that they had planned to see out the morning session without any risk.

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“They bowled in the right areas but at the same time we knew what we wanted to do. We almost got that. Rohit got out but otherwise we were trying to build a partnership and almost got it. So, overall in the first session we lost just one wicket and overall we did bat well today,” he said.

“The minus point was losing three wickets yesterday. That’s where I think we should have batted better. But overall we are in a good position. We got two wickets today and if we bowl well tomorrow, and if we are chasing somewhere around 350, I think we are very much in the game.”

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With rain forecast on Sunday, Pujara is hoping there might be something for their seamers. “Have heard that there might be some rain tomorrow, seeing the forecast, so there will be some clouds around and our bowlers might get some more swing. But time is important, if there is rain interruption we have plenty of time to get a result in this game,” he said.

First Published: Jan 07, 2018 09:07 IST