Cheteshwar Pujara believes his opening day century against Australia at Adelaide ranks among the top-five knocks of his Test career. The 30-year-old was India’s saviour on Day 1 of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy opener, holding fort while wickets tumbled at the other end to score 123 – his 16th Test hundred – as the visitors finished the day on 250/9.
"“It is one of my top innings in Test cricket, I could say top five. I can’t rate if it was one of the best but the teammates were appreciating, they were saying it was one of the best.”" - Cheteshwar Pujara
Pujara’s battling effort in stiff South Australian heat was only the third time he reached triple figures in Tests outside Asia – and only the second in 37 innings since the start of 2014 – but the 30-year-old negated previous suggestions that isn’t as effective a batsman outside the sub-continent.
"“People have always said that I have scored more runs in India. But at the same time, you also need to look at the number of matches we play in India. If we have played more number of matches in India, obviously I will score runs there.”" - Cheteshwar Pujara
Two of those three hundreds for Pujara outside the sub-continent have come in India’s last three Tests outside Asia. India’s number three had made an unbeaten 132 in the fourth Test against England at Southampton in September, while also making determined half-centuries in Indian wins at Johannesburg, against South Africa, and Nottingham.
Pujara asserted that confidence, or a lack of it, has not been an issue despite perceived shortcomings.
“ At times, I have had a bad phase playing overseas but I still feel very confident playing in different conditions and playing county cricket has helped me a lot,” he said. “Playing in England, conditions are always challenging and when you come to Australia, you know that pitches are slightly better and as I said, I had decent time to prepare before the Test series.”
Pujara didn’t hesitate in accepting that India’s top-order had a disappointing beginning to the much-awaited contest in Australia, continuing a poor run of form that has seen the world’s top-ranked team suffer series defeats in South Africa and England earlier this year.
"“Our top order should have batted better, but we’ll learn from the mistakes and put up a better show in the second innings.”" - Cheteshwar Pujara
Pujara also credited the Australian bowlers for keeping things tight on the opening day. “They also bowled well in the first two sessions. I knew that I had to stay patient and wait for the loose balls. They bowled in the right areas.”
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