Adelaide: India’s first innings hero Cheteshwar Pujara on Thursday conceded that the top-order should have batted better on day one of the first Test against Australia. Pujara’s 16th Test hundred and first in Australia helped India recover to 250-9 at stumps, after they had been reduced to 127-6 at one stage.
“We should have batted better but they also bowled well in the first two sessions. I knew that I had to stay patient and wait for the loose balls. The way they bowled, they bowled in the right areas. I also felt that our top order should have batted better but they will learn from the mistakes,” he said.
“Hopefully we will bat well in the second innings. As far as my innings is concerned, I had prepared well and overall I have the experience of first-class and Test cricket and that came in handy today,” he said. Pujara put on vital partnerships with R Ashwin and Ishant Sharma in the end, as the Australian pacers tired. He opened up and played a few more shots to take India to what the batsman ascertained to be a competitive total.
He added that the wicket wasn’t as easy to bat on, and that he needed to take a lot of time to play his shots, which again reflected poorly on how the Indian top-order batted on Thursday. “It has to be different because when you are batting with the tail, you never know how long can they bat. You have to take your chances but you can’t do the same when you are batting with a [top-order] batsman. When you are just one or two down, you can’t play the same shots.
“Also, the difference is, I had batted for two sessions and I knew what the pace and bounce of the pitch was. I was set, so I could play my shots. I was a bit disappointed but I had to take that single because only last two balls were left and I wanted to be on strike. I took the chance but Pat Cummins fielded brilliantly,” he said of run out on what turned out to be the final ball of the day.Pujara feels 250 is a decent first innings total, considering the conditions.
‘One of my top-5 knocks’
Pujara further said his gritty hundred ranks among the top five of his 16 centuries in the longest format. This was the second overseas hundred for Pujara this year, after his effort in Southampton against England. He also scored fighting half-centuries in the two Test wins at Johannesburg (against South Africa) and Nottingham (against England). “It [Thursday’s knock] is one of my top innings in Test cricket, I could say top five.
I can’t rate if it was one of the best but the teammates were appreciating, they were saying it was one of the best,” he said. The 30-year-old said although a majority (10) of his 16 hundreds are at home, it in no way suggests that he is more effective on Indian pitches.