How difficult is it perform when you know you are not the first choice opener?
When I have the opportunity to do well in this Test, I am focusing on that and not thinking ahead. Being the first choice or the second choice doesn’t make a difference. What matters is taking the opportunity and scoring runs.
You did not perform well with the bat in the first innings, but on the field displayed some remarkable athleticism. Did that lift your spirit up while coming into bat today?
The catch and the run out gave me a lot of confidence. I have worked really hard in the off-season. So I wanted to improve on my close-in fielding and batting. I was disappointed that it didn’t come off in the first innings. Sometimes how much ever you work hard in the nets, you get out. It’s fine as I came back stronger, had a decent day but was disappointed to get out on 81 and not reach the three figures. But I am happy to be out in the middle and playing for India.
Many players who haven’t been first choice players have come in and performed when given a chance, what does this tell you about the squad and the interactions within the team?
The support staff and senior players have made my stay comfortable. People who are coming into the squad feel really comfortable hanging out with players like Kohli and Jadeja. I think the culture is as such where people want to perform and raise their standards. We are constantly talking about how we are number one and we can raise our game. When you want to be a part of the number one side you have to raise your game.
On your hard work?
I was disappointed after Pune Test, where I dropped a sitter of Steve Smith. Thereon, I wanted to do well because I wanted to be specialist somewhere because in the Indian team it is very important that you be a specialist fielder. I have worked with R Sridhar and it has been great. I have also worked on my fitness, so a lot of credit to Mr Basu.
You got out in the last over of the day after a break in play. Does the mindset of a change when there is a break?
Not really, we have certain plans when we try to hold on to our partnership at the start and end of each session. It is a big plus. We speak about it a lot. If two settled batsman were not out then it would have given us impetus tomorrow morning to get a few more and put them back in.
How is the pitch behaving?
When the ball gets hold I thought there was assistance for Dilruwan Perera. There was a bit of turn towards the end of the day. There were a couple of others which skidded as well. But I think Ashwin and Jadeja will get more assistance than day 2. There will be a lot more discussion.