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India vs England: It is not always about scoring big hundreds, says Cheteshwar Pujara

Kohli and Pujara added only 70 wickets in the morning session on Day 3 before stepping it up in the end as India set England an improbable 521-run target with two days left.

cricket Updated: Aug 21, 2018 11:12 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Nottingham
cheteshwar pujara,virat kohli,india england
Cricket - England v India - Third Test - Trent Bridge, Nottingham, Britain - August 20, 2018 India's Cheteshwar Pujara in action batting (REUTERS)

Cheteshwar Pujara said on Monday it wasn’t personal glory that mattered while playing in tough overseas conditions but contributing to the team. The India No 3 scored a crucial 72 and raised a 113-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli (103) to leave the visitors eyeing victory in the Trent Bridge Test.

“When you are playing away from home, it’s not about scoring big hundreds. It is about having enough runs on the board, collectively. Maybe sometimes the openers (didn’t) score more than 30-40 runs, but they are quite valuable for the team. Personally, I always want to score a hundred in any game I play, but at the same time you have to be realistic.

Kohli and Pujara added only 70 wickets in the morning session on Day 3 before stepping it up in the end as India set England an improbable 521-run target with two days left. India seamers dismissed the hosts for 161 in the first innings and will fancy a repeat.

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“You just have to respect the conditions and the way they bowled,” he said about the slow start. “We had our game plan and stuck to it. Can’t reveal much about what our plan was, but I think we won that session.”

Pujara was delighted with Kohli’s 23rd Test century, his second ton of the series.

“He batted brilliantly. He has been batting well since the first Test. He is in good touch and is making the most of it. Some shots which he is playing on this pitch are very difficult for any other batsman to execute.”

Pujara had faced a frustrating phase and the knock should ease the pressure on him. The India No 3 was run out twice in Centurion, wasn’t included for the Edgbaston Test, was run out in the first innings at Lord’s and then was out hooking in the first innings at Trent Bridge.

“I was always confident. Although I didn’t score too many runs in County cricket, I was playing on challenging pitches. I always felt I was batting well, especially in the nets, especially the way I was timing the ball. I was very confident I was up for a big one. The way I batted in this innings, I felt whatever I was working on in the nets, came good, really pleased to score a valuable 72 runs for the team.”

However, he acknowledged being under pressure.

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“To be honest, there is always some pressure, especially when you have not scored too many runs. Even as a batting unit, before this Test, we hadn’t scored too many runs. It was important all our top-order started scoring runs, especially in this Test. The way our opening batsmen batted, lot of credit goes to them.

“I’ve faced Anderson in the past. He’s a great bowler no doubt but facing him in 2014 in similar conditions has helped me. I knew what areas he bowls in and what should be my game plan. It’s always challenging to bat against him, but the way we had our partnership, especially in the first session, we knew what we wanted to do.”

While the Indian team management has called for batsmen to show intent, Pujara has stuck to his patient approach.

“You just need to trust your technique and your temperament, and be confident about how you know to play in such conditions,” he said. “Everyone has a different technique; everyone has a way to play.

“We just need to play the way we know as a batsman.”

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 07:21 IST