Cheteshwar Pujara who played a key role in India’s resurrection in the second innings of the first Test in Johannesburg last week believes the visitors will be entering the Boxing Day Test here enjoying an edge over their opponents.
“If we consider the last match, we have had more positives than South Africa. We batted first when the ball was doing a bit and we batted well. When they batted in the first innings, there wasn’t much help from the track, still we came back with our bowling,” Pujara was quoted as saying by PTI after India’s practice at the Kingsmead yesterday.
“In the second innings, they had the opportunity to bat in better conditions. On the last day, we were expecting some more movement from the cracks but it didn’t happen. They were lucky enough to survive,” India’s No three, who scored an impressive 153, added.
Pujara went on to claim that India had a better chance of winning the first Test but it was only the partnership between AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, that thwarted them. “We had a very good chance to win the match. But it was one good partnership in a session that didn’t go our way. So emotionally and mentally, coming out to play in Durban is a good thing for us. It is a new match and we have to start from scratch. “We have to forget what happened in Johannesburg and focus on our plans for this game,” Pujara said.
Not mincing words
The right-handed batsman didn’t shy away from stating that the hosts didn’t press for victory as they did not have confidence in their tailenders. “Only two of their batsmen, Faf and AB scored runs in the whole match. We are confident that we could get their batsmen out. “Also, if you notice, they didn’t go for victory in the end, so they are not confident about their tailenders getting runs,” the Saurashtra batsman pointed out. Pujara said that his first overseas Test hundred has given him a lot of confidence. “It becomes a bit easier in the next game, but I am not saying that I can walk in there and do the same in this match as well. I will have to work hard, but I have the confidence.”