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India vs Sri Lanka: Cheteshwar Pujara terms Eden conditions ‘test of character’

Cheteshwar Pujara says his County experience helped him in tackling Sri Lankan bowlers at Eden Gardens which assisted pacers. The India No. 3 scored his 16th Test half-century in the match

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Nov 18, 2017 21:03 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
India vs Sri Lanka,Cheteshwar Pujara,Eden Gardens
Cheteshwar Pujara scored a half-century on Day 3 of the first India vs Sri Lanka Test in Kolkata.(AP)

The rigours of international cricket have taken a toll on their bodies but on a lively deck and in conditions not usual to the sub-continent, Cheteshwar Pujara and Angelo Mathews played innings that have left their imprint on the first Test at Eden Gardens between India and Sri Lanka. Both made 52. (IND vs SL Day 3 HIGHLIGHTS)

“Experience helps you handle such situations,” said Mathews, 30. Speaking after the Sri Lankan, Pujara added that time spent in the county circuit this year had helped. “It made me play on many challenging wickets and that improved my game,” said Pujara, 29. (IND vs SL DAY 3 FULL SCORECARD)

READ | Sri Lanka on top vs India with Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne 50s in 1st Test

“You can’t worry about what happened in the last ball because you are bound to get good balls in every over. You also have to stay positive and wait for the loose ball. It’s not easy,” said Mathews.

It took the ball of the match so far to dismiss Pujara. “Such conditions, especially with so many interruptions, are a test of character. I think I batted well apart from that particular delivery which surprised me with the amount of deviation,” said Pujara, talking about the ball from Lahiru Gamage that clipped his off-stump.

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The sheen got taken off Mathews’ innings somewhat when he was caught at short-cover by KL Rahul. “Maybe, it (the delivery) stopped a little but no excuses, I was trying to score,” said Mathews. That said Mathews felt he and Lahiru Thirimanne should have gone for “a big one”.

READ | Cheteshwar Pujara notches up well-deserved fifty against Sri Lanka in Kolkata Test

Both felt the wicket tested batsmen’s skills. “On the first day, it was seaming; today (Saturday) it was swinging and seaming. Batsmen had to fight it out. There is still a lot left in the wicket for pacers,” said Mathews.

That Mathews was making a comeback from a calf muscle injury made it more difficult. “It is not easy to get into a rhythm. It’s been quite a frustrating year for me because of injuries. I think it is taking a toll on my body from 2013,” said Mathews.

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“I can’t think of being a former captain or as a premier batsman in the team anymore. I just have to go out, take the responsibility to score as many runs as possible especially because I am playing only as a batsman now.”

The India pace attack was praised by Mathews. “They keep coming at you. But we have confidence in our batting and we hope to carry forward the work the top order has done.”

Pujara felt the match is in the balance even though the wicket has got better. “We are confident that if we get them out early tomorrow and if we have enough overs, we have a chance of winning this game,” he said.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 21:02 IST