India’s dependable Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, who is on his way of filling the big boots of legendary batsman Rahul Dravid, has proved his worth once again in the third Test against Australia in Ranchi.
On Day 3 of the Test, the hosts were down to 340/6 during their first innings reply to Australia's 451. Pujara then took the responsibility on his shoulder and built a mammoth 199-run seventh wicket partnership with Wriddhiman Saha propelled and helped his team to declare the innings at 603/9. For his tremendous effort of scoring a gritty double ton, the Saurashtra has been coveted man-of-the-match trophy for the third Test match here.
During an interview after the conclusion of Test, Pujara said, "Probably this is one my best double hundreds. It was a tough innings because as a batsman I wasn't having a good time. Initially, it was difficult especially the first session on Day Three. I was enjoying his innings and obviously once when he got out I took more responsibility. As the innings progressed it got easier but this double hundred means a lot to me."
Pujara also made a record of facing the maximum number of deliveries in a Test innings by an Indian batsman as he 525 balls in his innings of 202. Talking about the record, he said, "Once I was set my confidence was back and I had the concentration. In the last match, I got 92 and that was crucial. There were few things which I had worked on and it was coming along nicely. My game-plan was working out.”
The Saurashtra batsman showered praises for his partner Wriddhiman Saha who scored his third Test ton, Pujara said, "The Bengaluru win meant a lot to us. I have played long innings in domestic cricket and had to play a patient innings here. I restricted myself but Saha batted beautifully. It was a crucial knock and I thank him for batting brilliantly. Whenever the team has been in trouble he has always put his hand up.”
He further elaborated, "We needed a big partnership. We targeted small things like looking out for good spells from the bowlers and rotating the strike. We both ran well and I told him to play his natural game because I knew if he did that runs would come."
Pujara concluded by talking about his off-field chemistry with Saha, he said, "We both are quiet individuals but I challenge him that he won't be able to beat me in the Fifa (video) game, but ultimately we have a good competition."