Australia don't know how to play on turning tracks: Pujara

Hyderabad:  Cheteshwar Pujara’s second double-century in Tests and his record 370-run partnership with Murali Vijay for the second wicket has played a major role in putting India in the driver’s seat in the ongoing second Test here.

The 25-year-old, at the end of Day III, said that he wasn’t too concerned with records as his aim was to keep scoring runs and contribute to the team’s cause.

The following are excerpts

Hyderabad being a happy hunting venue

So far it has been great playing at this ground. And I think it helped getting a hundred here against New Zealand last year. I knew the wicket well. So it was really helpful.

Batting with Vijay

Initially, we wanted to ensure that we don’t lose early wickets, especially after losing Virender Sehwag. We wanted to ensure that we don’t lose any more wickets because the ball was doing a bit. We were aware about the conditions… Our initial plan was not to lose a wicket. Later on, after having reached my hundred, I just wanted to play my natural game instead of doing anything extra.

The record second-wicket partnership

I am not really aware about the records. I’m happy to have achieved it for the country and am proud to represent India. I like scoring hundreds whether it is for the country or for a club.

Pitch assisting spinners

Now, there is a bit of help for the spinners. There is more turn and the odd ball has an extra bit of bounce. So you have to apply yourself to bat well. The wickets are falling since spinners are getting more help.

Getting out to the hook

I think it’s a scoring shot. But you need to play it at the right height. I have spoken about it before. I need to leave the ones above shoulder… I still need to learn and am working on that shot.

Playing through pain on Day II

I had pulled my hamstring. Yesterday, in the first session, I found it difficult to run and even think about my batting with a sore hamstring. I just wanted to occupy the crease initially. I felt gradually better afterwards and started to concentrate on my batting. The intensity of the injury has reduced to a good extent and I am much better now.

His comebacks from frequent injuries

I think it’s really satisfying when you come back and start scoring especially after being out of the team and the game because of injury. It’s a different kind of feeling, to be honest. Injuries have taught me a lot. It motivates you to work a lot harder on your game and fitness.

Comparing the two double centuries

You don’t need to compare the two as they are scored against different opponents and under different situations. Also, both the innings were challenging enough.

The Australian batsmen’s problems against spin

They need to apply themselves. They don’t have a fair idea of how to go about on turning tracks. Besides, we are well aware of their strengths and constantly trying to spot their weaknesses as well. So far we’ve been quite successful... Our spinners just need to continue with what they have been doing...

Aussie spinners not being as good as their English counterparts

That wicket in Ahmedabad was slightly easier to bat on. This wicket was initially difficult to bat on since there was as a bit of turn. Even today when I batted, there was a little more turn than yesterday. Talking of England spinners, I had batted well against them, too. So yes, it did help when facing the Australian tweakers.


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