India top-order batsman Cheteshwar Pujara reckons restricting Australia to a lead of under 90 will keep the hosts in the hunt for a series-leveling victory.
India find themselves under the pump after Australia battled hard to reach 237/6 by stumps on the second day, taking the lead to 48. The Indian bowlers performed beautifully on the second day to keep the pressure on Australia, but some great application by the batsmen helped them see off most of the danger. Matt Renshaw and Shaun Marsh compiled fine half-centuries as Australia eked out a lead and put themselves in a solid position going into the third day.
Pujara, however, felt India were far from finished in the second Test. “We are very much in the game and they also have to bat fourth. We have already seen the ball is keeping low, and if we put up a good total… As far as our batting is concerned, the bigger the total the more pressure the Australians will feel. We have spoken about how to go about our batting in the second innings and I don’t want to reveal it here. But it is important that we put up a big total on the board,” he stated.
“If we can get them out for another 25, 30 or 40 runs, it will be great. We will focus on bowling right line and length and wickets will come. I think there is enough help from the pitch for the spinners and fast bowlers. So if we continue to bowl the way we have bowled and the bowlers will have some plans tomorrow for Starc and the other batsman. We will think of what we could have done better but overall I feel we have bowled well.”
Despite Pujara’s optimism, India will have to do a lot better than they have been doing in this series so far. They were totally outplayed in Pune, and so far in Bengaluru, even their best efforts has been successfully handled by the visitors.
When asked if India’s lackluster performance was down to the long season of Test cricket they have been through, Pujara disagreed. The Bengaluru Test is India’s 11th since September 22, with some of the players have also played in the ODI and T20I series in between, but Pujara felt that the team has had enough breaks.
“We have got enough breaks in between. I don’t think it was a long season. We enjoyed this season because we won a lot, apart from the last Test. But this team is strong and I feel that we will come back strong in this match and the series. We are still together and enjoying it. The kind of success we had last year and earlier this year, we have played really good cricket and we just have to produce that again. We want to forget the last Test and we are confident that we can come back,” he said.
Indian fans will be desperately hoping that Pujara’s confidence has enough backing and that the team will indeed do much better. They showed glimpses of their pre-Pune days, with the team playing its heart out. The pacers, Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma, were the stand-out performers for their side even if their figures didn’t indicate the same. The pair had the batsmen in trouble with their discipline and incision. They made use of whatever they could from the pitch to help India stay in the game.
“Throughout the day we bowled very well,” Pujara said. “Especially the fast bowlers. It wasn’t easy for the fast bowlers because there wasn’t much help. Obviously, there was the odd ball that stayed low but they had to put in a lot of hard work. And the spinners as well. All the bowlers, we can see the run rate and they were not able to score many runs. In a way, it was a victory for us and we bowled tight lines. Lengths were very good from the fast bowlers. All in all we bowled well and took six wickets but they didn’t score many runs.”
Online Source: The Times of India