India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara on Sunday said that the opening session on the fourth day will be the most crucial one for the home side and added that they look to bat as long as possible in the first Test match against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Rishabh Pant (91) and Pujara's (73) stunning performances helped in reviving India's first innings but Dom Bess dominated the hosts' batters to put England on top. At stumps, India's score read 257/6, with Washington Sundar (33*) and Ravichandran Ashwin (8*) still at the crease, trailing England by 321 runs. England scored 578 runs in their first innings with the help of Joe Root's double ton.
"The first session tomorrow is the most crucial one, we would like to bat as long as possible on this pitch. There is a little bit of spin now but overall it is still a good pitch to bat on. We would back our tailenders to bat well in these conditions because there is still a lot to play for and we just want to get as close to the total as possible," Pujara said while answering an ANI query in the virtual press conference at the end of play on Sunday."It is still a good pitch to bat on. The first two days it was really really flat and our bowlers did a fantastic job. But it was a pitch where there wasn't much assistance in the first two days and we were expecting a little bit more out of the pitch. Batting wise, we still could have batted a bit better," he said.
"There were some soft dismissals which didn't go in our favour like the way I got out and the way Ajinkya Rahane got out. So, I felt that those few wickets were crucial for us but at the same time, we are still very confident as Ashwin and Washington both are batting really well. We just have to move on from here," he added.
For England, spinner Dom Bess returned with the figures of 4-55 in his 23 overs. Bess sent India's middle-order -- Pujara (73), Virat Kohli (11), Ajinkta Rahane (1), and Rishabh Pant (91) -- back to the pavilion on day three.
When asked about how different was Bess' approach than Ashwin's, Puraja replied: "It is very difficult to compare both the bowlers, Ashwin is someone who has played so many games for us and has done exceptionally well not just in India but overseas as well. It is his (Bess) first tour of India and he did well. He started pulling well. As a batting unit, we want to just focus on the things which we want to achieve and most of the time we have been able to do that."