I will take 90 on this track as it will get worse from hereon: Cheteshwar Pujara
Chattogram: Cheteshwar Pujara doesn’t regret missing out on his 19th Test hundred in the first Test against Bangladesh as he would happily take his 90-run knock on a “difficult track” which he says will get worse by the day.
Pujara along with Shreyas Iyer (82 batting) added 149 runs for the fifth wicket before India lost the dependable No. 3. All-rounder Axar Patel also fell in quick succession with Indian ending the opening day on 278 for 6.
“It is not an easy pitch to bat on so I am really happy with the way I batted today.”
Sometimes more than three figure, you look at trying to put team in a winning situation,” Pujara said at the post-match media conference. Pujara hasn’t scored a century for nearly four years but in recent times, this is probably the most assured he has looked against any bowling attack.
“I am really happy today and not bothered about not getting a three-figure mark. I have been batting well and if I carry on like this, it will come soon,” said the player, who is a month and half shy of his 35th birthday.
For Pujara, the track at the Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium is a result-oriented one with spinners set to play a big part in the final outcome.
“Looks like there will be a result and we needed runs on board. My partnership with Shreyas was important and also with Rishabh as there was a time when we had lost three wickets,” Pujara said.
While he admitted that he might not have got too many runs but a first innings total of 350 could prove to be decisive.
“If we would have ended the day at 4 or even 5 wickets, things would have been better. I still feel if we get 350 in the first innings, it will be a good score on this track as there is turn (on offer) and we have three spinners. Even when fast bowlers are bowling, the odd one is staying low. It will keep getting worse as time progresses,” Pujara said providing his take on the track.
The biggest challenge as the pitch wears on will be the variable bounce.
“There was variable bounce and odd ball was keeping low even with the second new ball. It is easy once the ball gets older as bowlers also get tired. They can’t keep bowling same areas for longer time. We all know in case of Kookaburra, the first 30 overs are important. Once you get through that phase, it is still slightly easier. But still you need to concentrate hard,” he added.
The worry for batters will be the odd ball that is turning sharply.
“It is not like all deliveries are turning. One ball per over is turning and that is even more dangerous. That odd ball that will turn back or away will get you leg before or bowled. You can’t relax on this track,” Pujara concluded.