‘Joy to watch Ro­hit from the other end’

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Sport - JAC.Glad­[email protected] times­group.com

Visakhapat­nam: Chetesh­war Pu­jara took his time to set­tle down be­fore match­ing Ro­hit Sharma shot for shot in the sec­ond in­nings as In­dia went about their quest for quick runs against South Africa on Satur­day.

In­dia had wrested a first-in­nings lead of 71 runs and set South Africa a tar­get of 395 to win. Pu­jara said it was not an easy wicket to bat on to start with. But with Ro­hit bat­ting beau­ti­fully at the other end, it didn’t take long for the No.3 to get go­ing.

“It was a dif­fi­cult pitch to bat on,” Pu­jara said af­ter scor­ing 81 and putting on 169 for the sec­ond wicket with Ro­hit. “It was not east to ro­tate the strike. Es­pe­cially with my game and the kind of shots I play, I was find­ing it dif­fi­cult early on. It was a two-paced pitch against fast bowlers and even against spin­ners. But once I knew that, I changed my point of im­pact. I had to play a lit­tle up­front be­cause the pitch was slow against spin­ners and I had to gen­er­ate power.”

Pu­jara had the best seat in the sta­dium when Ro­hit was on song. “When Ro­hit was bat­ting, I felt I could take some time to set­tle down. To play all those strokes that he did on this wicket… that part­ner­ship was cru­cial. Our com­mu­ni­ca­tion was good as he we have bat­ted to­gether since our U-19 days. It was a joy to watch him from the non-striker’s end. The way he hits sixes is in­cred­i­ble and as a Test bats­man who wants to im­prove his ODI and T20 cricket, there is lots to learn from him. Es­pe­cially when it comes hit­ting the ball out of the park.”

The bowlers should be ex­cited by the vari­able bounce and cracks on the pitch. “There is enough rough for spin­ners and the cracks will open up bit more on Day 5. The cracks will help the fast bowlers and we have seen that the pitch has got vari­able bounce. I don’t think it will bounce that much but there will be more bounce for the spin­ners on the rough,” Pu­jara said.

Dec­la­ra­tion, Pu­jara said, came at the right time. “We did not want to bowl too many overs be­cause we wanted to keep the ball hard for start of day five. Once the ball gets soft, it is slightly eas­ier to bat. We picked up a cru­cial wicket so as a team so we are happy.”

Dur­ing his 148-ball es­say, Pu­jara also en­joyed a chat with Kag­iso Rabada af­ter one of the edges eluded the off-colour Quin­ton de Kock. “When you are fac­ing a fast bowler, you ex­pect that. There was not any­thing per­sonal. I al­ways en­joy such chal­lenges. It mo­ti­vates me to bat well.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.