Friday, March 1, 2024

India had more positives from first Test: Pujara

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Durban: Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara sought to play mind games on Tuesday ahead of the second cricket Test against South Africa, saying the visitors had more positives to take from the epic drawn first Test and would like to “build on the gains” from that match.
“If we consider the last match, we have had more positives than South Africa. We batted first when the ball was doing a bit and we batted well. When they batted in the first innings, there wasn’t much help from the track, still we came back with our bowling,” Pujara said at the pre-match press conference here on Christmas Eve.
“In the second innings, they had the opportunity to bat in better conditions. On the last day, we were expecting some more movement from the cracks but it didn’t happen. They were lucky enough to survive,” India’s No. 3, who scored an impressive 153 in the first Test, said.
Pujara said that India had a better chance of winning the first Test but it was one partnership between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, that didn’t go their way.
“We had very good chance to win the match. But it was one good partnership in a session that didn’t go our way. So emotionally and mentally, coming out to play in Durban is a good thing for us. It is a new match and we have to start from scratch. We have to forget what happened in Johannesburg and focus on our plans for this game,” Pujara said.
Pujara did not shy away from stating that South Africa didn’t go for victory as they didn’t have confidence in their tail-enders when asked about the impressive show by the Proteas while chasing a target in excess of 450.
“Only two of their batsmen, Faf and AB scored runs in the whole match. We are confident that we can get their batsmen out. Also, if you notice, they didn’t go for victory in the end, so they are not confident about their tail-enders getting runs,” the Saurashtra batsman pointed out.
Pujara also said that although it was a very close game, the recovery process after such a taxing encounter hasn’t been a problem.
“Nevertheless, it was a very exciting finish and you expect such close contests from Test cricket. There is no problem with our recovery and we are training a lot. So we are fit enough to prepare for the next game.”
India fell short by just three wickets in the end, but Pujara asserted that their bowlers had done well even in coming out of the game with a draw after setting a 458-run target. (PTI)

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