Cheteshwar Pujara said that although England bowled a “negative” line during his partnership with skipper Virat Kohli, his team showed a lot of character and would be looking to take 75-100 runs lead in the first innings of the third Test in Mohali.
Pujara and Kohli added 75 runs in 25.2 overs but the post-lunch session saw England bowling outside the channel packing the off-side cordon and the duo left a lot of deliveries. India reached 271 for six in reply to England’s first innings total of 283 at stumps on day two.
“I think we did not struggle but the lines that they (England) were bowling were a little negative. But I still feel the way we batted, we showed character. We were leaving the balls outside the off-stump and we built a partnership, which was crucial for the team.
“The second session was good for us. I won’t say they had an advantage as I mentioned earlier that lines that they bowled were slightly negative,” said Pujara, who scored a composed 51 before getting out to a long hop from Adil Rashid.
Pujara said that there was nothing wrong in their approach during that session where they played safe rather than going for aggressive shot.
“See, everyone has a gameplan. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the way we batted, we stuck to our plans. Obviously, in the last session, we lost many wickets, which we didn’t want to but things happen.
“But as I said, we recovered well from that. We have been leaving balls well, not particularly only in this Test match, in the past also we have left balls well outside the off-stump as batsmen have a clear gameplan.”
With the ever dependable Ravichandran Ashwin at the crease with Ravindra Jadeja, having added 67 runs so far, Pujara thinks that a lead of 100 is a possibility with the gutsy Jayant Yadav to come in next.
“I think we have an advantage that both our all-rounders are playing. Probably the first session will be crucial for us. Our gameplan will be really simple. Looking to (first) get a lead of around 75-100 runs and then continue batting.
“Both (Jadeja and Ashwin) of them can bat. As we saw in the last game that Jayant Yadav can also bat. So our lower order has been contributing in all Test matches and we expect them to contribute tomorrow as well.”
Ashwin was seen hobbling while running between the wickets and Pujara said that it might be a niggle he picked up while batting.
“I didn’t speak to Ash after he came out. But when he was bowling, there wasn’t anything wrong. Probably, he might have got some niggles, when he was batting. I am yet to speak to him,” said Pujara.
The right-hander seemed a touch disappointed with the manner of his dismissal.
“I was disappointed in the way I got out. There was a ball probably I could have hit for four, but I didn’t time it well,” said Pujara.
Talking about Rashid, Pujara said: “He has been bowling well but Indian batsmen are known to play spinners well and we have been tackling him well.”
He was all praise for Parthiv Patel’s positive approach while scoring 42 in his comeback to the Test arena.
“Parthiv has been a good batsman and the kind of runs he has scored in first-class cricket, it could be seen in his confidence in this game. Another thing is that he has the experience of playing lot of first-class cricket and he has played Test cricket at the age of 17, so probably he has matured now, kind of form he is in, he will continue batting well in the second innings.”