Kolkata: Cheteshwar Pujara, who was the lone performer with the bat for India in their first innings effort of 172 said that his stint with Nottinghamshire in county cricket has helped him evolve as a better batsman.
The right-handed batsman from Saurashtra played a patient and classy 52-run knock that had provided some sort of resistance to the Sri Lankan bowlers so far in the Test match.
Speaking to the reporters at the post-match press conference, he said, “Playing county cricket has definitely helped me.”
“I played eight matches which is almost half of the matches as over there you play 16 games. I played four games before the Sri Lanka series and four after the series so…it gave me lot of exposure. At the same time I have played on many challenging wickets and as a cricketer I have learnt many things and I am improved and understood my game,” added Pujara.
After limiting India to just 172, the Sri Lankan reply was initially began with two quick wickets by Bhuvneshwar Kumar but former skipper Angelo Mathews and Lahiru Thirimanne ensured that no more damage was done before Umesh Yadav returned with the ball to dismiss the both of them late in the day. The visitors are comfortably placed at 165/4 and are looking set for a big first innings lead.
But Pujara however felt that a couple of wickets would change the game and that India is still in the hunt.
He said, “At this stage we are very much in the game. Wicket has got a lot better. We got 170-odd runs now we have got four wickets. We are confident if weather permits, we will make a game out of it.”
“Overall if we look at the weather, today it was much better and the clouds were not around. When the clouds were around there was help for the fast bowler. When we were fielding sun was out. Wicket now is better so there is something in it for the fast bowlers.
“They got off to a good start but we fought back. Hopefully tomorrow our fast bowlers will come good and if we can get couple of wickets early, we can run through them,” he added further.
When asked as to whether the Indian batsmen are finding it tough to bat on green tops like the one in this match, he said that the team is ready to play anywhere.
“I think talking about this team, we are ready to play on any kind of wicket. Against New Zealand when we played here there was some help for the fast bowlers,” he said.
He added, “So I think this team is ready to play in any conditions. This is not a 350-400 wicket. We might have added 30-40 runs more but it’s still a decent wicket considering how wicket was behaving in the last two days.”
He also said that he likes to bat in tough conditions. He said, “Personally, I love playing on challenging wickets. It suits my temperament and technique. On these wickets, your character comes up and you feel that you’re confident and can pull a team out of trouble. I try and stay strong when the wicket is difficult.’