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Felt pressure but county stint helped me: Pujara

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Nottingham: Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara admitted that he was under pressure to score runs and credited his county stints for providing him the confidence to bat in English conditions and overturn his poor form during the third Test.

Pujara scored 72 runs and added 113 runs with skipper Virat Kohli as India piled on 352-7 declared and set an imposing 521-run target for England to win the third Test.

“Playing County cricket did help me. I’ve learnt a lot. Although I didn’t score too many runs in County cricket but I was playing on challenging pitches. I think I was always confident,” said Pujara.

“I always felt that I was batting well especially in the nets, especially the way I was timing the ball. I was very confident that I was up for a big one.

“The way I batted in this innings, I felt that whatever I was working on in the nets, it came along. Really pleased to score those 72 runs, valuable 72 runs for the team,” he added.

Pujara overcame a poor run of form wherein he averaged 14.66 in the past nine innings, with his last half-century coming in Johannesburg on a green-top against South Africa.

The batsman said he did feel pressure because of that poor form.

“Yes (I did feel pressure). To be honest there is always some pressure especially when you have not scored too many runs. Even as a team as a batting unit, before this Test match, collectively we hadn’t scored too many runs,” he said.

“It was important all our top-order starts scoring runs, especially in this Test match. The way our opening batsmen batted in first innings and second innings, I think lot of credit goes to them because sometimes it’s not about scoring big 50s or 100s.

“If they score 30 or 40 runs it is quite valuable for the team. I think both innings we got off to more than 50 runs without losing any wicket which is always important,” he said.

Talking about his recent run-outs and poor shot selections, Pujara said, “Sometimes if you are playing this game, there will be different modes of dismissals. I am not too concerned about them. The important thing today is the way we batted as a unit and the number of runs we scored.

“And we are very well balanced in this Test match. We are looking forward to tomorrow rather than worrying about what happened in the past or the way our batsmen got out. We should be really happy with the amount of runs we have.”

Pujara said one needs to trusts one’s technique to score runs in this conditions.

“You just need to trust your technique, your temperament and be confident about how you know to play in such condition,” he said.

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