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Long season not to blame for struggle against Australia: Cheteshwar Pujara

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has dismissed suggestions the team is struggling in the Test series against Australia due to too much cricket.

cricket Updated: Mar 05, 2017 19:48 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
Cheteshwar Pujara,India national cricket team,India vs Australia
Cheteshwar Pujara himself hasn’t had a great Test series against Australia. (PTI)

India’s underwhelming batting performances in the Test series against Australia has raised questions whether the players are fatigued in the final stages of a busy season at home, which started in September against New Zealand. (DAY 2 BLOG)

Cheteshwar Pujara dismissed such suggestions on Sunday, after the Indian bowlers managed to ensure Australia did not run away with the game by curbing their first innings lead to 48. (SCORECARD)

India are playing their 11th Test this season with three more to go. Former Australia stalwart Matthew Hayden has pointed that out as a reason. Another ex-batsman, Mark Waugh, a current national selector, has dubbed Virat Kohli’s leg before dismissal to off-spinner Nathan Lyon on Day 1 of the Bangalore Test as ‘brain fade’ after the skipper had urged India to show intent following the big defeat in the first game in Pune.

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“We’ve got enough breaks in between. I don’t think it was a long season. We enjoyed this season because we have won many matches, apart from the last game. This team is strong and I am confident we will come back strongly in this Test and series. Apart from the last Test, we have played really good cricket and we want to produce that cricket again.

“We just want to forget that last Test.”

Pujara said the wicket had improved from the first day, and India are confident of restricting Australia’s lead to less than 100 and then make a sizeable total in the second innings to push for win.

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“First things first, we have to get four wickets, and then bat well and put a decent total on the board,” he said.

Australia managed to bat through the day, but added only 197 runs to their overnight total.

“Throughout the day we bowled really well, especially our fast bowlers. It wasn’t easy for them, the odd ball was staying low and at the same time they put in a lot of hard work. Our spinners as well, we can see the run rate.

“In a way it was victory for us. We bowled tight lines. We got only six wickets, but they weren’t able to score runs.”

“If we can get them (Australia’s last four wickets) for another 20-30-40 runs that will be great.”

Read more | India vs Australia: DRS hits Virat Kohli & Co for a four in Bangalore Test

But India’s plight has been basically due to their failure to get to the 200-run mark in three innings in this series, something that last happened at home in 1977 against England.

“The most important thing is we didn’t get a partnership. When we did, things were getting easy for us. We kept on losing wickets. There is nothing wrong with the Indian batting line up. We are known to play well against spinners. We just have to have a game plan, and we had a chat in the morning.”

First Published: Mar 05, 2017 19:15 IST