It was the hundredth Test match for Cheteshwar Pujara as India romped over the Aussies emphatically, inching another step closer to the WTC finale. Even though Pujara had a hard time with the bat in the first innings but the second innings saw him holding fort against the difficult conditions as he steered the Indian ship past the finish line with a lofted strike over midwicket.
The Indian number three became the thirteenth India to rack up this herculean feat of a century of games as he continues to mesmerize the audience with his resilient brand of cricket in the face of the world’s most hostile conditions. He had prepared a long speech for the match-end and that was a deep insight into what has been a wholesome journey for India’s unsung hero in Tests for the past decade.
Talking to Star Sports, Pujara said, “It has been a great Test match. Unfortunately I did not get enough runs in the first innings. It [scoring the winning runs in my 100th Test] is a special feeling and my family is still watching the game. We’ve won this game and it’s the last boundary in a winning cause and we’re still looking to win the next two matches.”
He shifted his focus to the Ranji finale between Bengal and Saurashtra with the latter being his side and lifting the hallowed silverware, adding, “Oh lovely, congrats to all the guys I was following the scores, but after lunch I couldn’t follow the scores. Great effort from the team.”
Pujara also talked about the overnight thoughts that would frequent the dressing room, stating, “I thought we [India] might end up chasing 200-250, but the kind of lengths…Yesterday, it didn’t go our way and we conceded too many runs in the last session. The way our bowlers did today was incredible.”
The pitch obviously had its hallowed part to play and Pujara’s assessment of the same was somewhat like, “If you look at this pitch, it [the sweep] is not an ideal shot to play with low bounce, but I’ve worked on it. With my game, I use my feet well and try to judge length as early as possible. I’ve always done that throughout my career.”
He concluded by talking about the exact drift that the surface had to offer, adding, “Not really, it was the initial phase when you walk out to bat. Some balls spun and some went straighter. Once you play 30-40 balls, it’s a good pitch to bat. Once the ball gets softer, it gets easier to bat on.”