It was hard to score on this pitch, says Pujara

It was hard to score on this pitch, says Pujara

Right-hander says improved fitness has lifted his game

It was hard to score on this pitch, says Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara spent a whopping eight and half hours at the crease, consumed 362 balls for his 143. Except for a short phase on the second morning, never during his marathon innings did he show any urgency and the right-hander pinned the blame on the slowness of the surface here for the second Test, saying that while 'you may not get out, scoring wasn't easy at all'.

 "Kolkata was a different wicket altogether with lot of assistance for the fast bowlers especially in the first innings," he said when asked to compare his 50 in Kolkata with his century here. "Coming to this particular wicket, I think, it was difficult to score runs as this wicket was on the slower side. It wasn't easy to get boundaries and we had to rotate the strike. Whenever we got some opportunities, we tried playing some shots. But overall, it was a tough pitch, where you might not get out but it was also difficult to score runs," he reasoned.

Pujara, however, felt that going forward both spinners and pacers may come into play. "I think the ball has started turning and we are hoping on Day 4, spinners will come into play and at the same time, there is variable bounce for fast bowlers, Ishant (Sharma) and Umesh (Yadav) will also come into play."

Virat Kohli's innings was striking in contrast to that of Pujara. The Indian skipper reached his 100 in 130 balls and took a ball less to add another century (200 off 259 balls in a total of 213 off 267). When pointed out how Kohli managed to negate slowness of the pitch and score brisk runs, Pujara put it down on Kohli's form and confidence.      

"See, he is a kind of player who performs well in all the formats of the game," he highlighted. "The way he started off, if there was some other batsman, I don't think he could have started in the same way. I think it's his confidence and way he is batting, in the last two-three years. It would have been difficult for any other batsman to score with such a strike rate," he offered.

With a pair of dodgy knees, Pujara has always found it difficult to match the swiftness of his team-mates when it comes to running between the wickets and the Saurashtra batsman said he was working hard on his fitness.

"The last one and half to two years, I have been working hard on my fitness and luckily there has not been any injuries. So now, I am fully fit,  and that's the reason I am able to take quick singles and doubles. Even my recoveries are much better now when it comes to fitness. So, while batting I have not changed anything but fitness-wise I have improved a lot. If you want to be on the field on all five days, you need a lot of stamina, your fitness has to be on top," noted Pujara who batted on eight consecutive days of Test cricket, stretching from first day in Kolkata.