India Vs SA test: Cheteshwar Pujara gets the best seat to watch Rohit Sharma score
That's where Cheteshwar Pujara was to watch Rohit Sharma become the second Indian opener to score two tons in a Test
Visakhapatnam: Cheteshwar Pujara had the best seat in the ground as he soaked in the fulsome entertainment Rohit Sharma provided for the second time in four days at the ACA-VDCA ground in the first Test against South Africa. In his first outing as an opener, Rohit had blitzed to 176 in the Indian first innings. In far trickier conditions for stroke-making on Saturday, the Mumbai batsman embraced the subliminal on his way to becoming the first Indian opener since Sunil Gavaskar in 1978 to make two hundreds in the same Test.
Rohit's magical 127 allowed India to tighten the screws on the visitors, who will start the final day on 11 for one after being set 395 for the unlikeliest of victories. "The way Rohit was batting, I felt we were scoring at a decent pace and I could take some extra time to settle down," observed Pujara, who made just eight in his first 60 deliveries before kicking on to finish on 81 from 148 during a second-wicket stand of 169.
"He batted really well in the first innings but in the second, the situation was different. To play all those strokes that he did on this wicket, I don't think many other batsmen could have managed it. It was a joy to watch him from the non-striker's end." Pujara had just 66 runs from his previous five Test hits, and acknowledged that initially, the nature of the surface didn't make life any easier. "It was a difficult pitch to bat on, it was not easy to rotate strike or time the ball.
"With my game and the kind of shots I play, I was finding it a little difficult early on but I knew that once I am set, once my body is warmed up, once I find the right pace of the pitch, I can accelerate.
"I changed my point of impact (of meeting the ball) and the intent also changed. Early on, I was trying to hit too hard, and trying to play little late wasn't helping me," Pujara admitted.
"I decided to play a little in front of the pads and meet the ball earlier. Because the pitch was quite slow, especially against the spinners, I had to generate power, so I was playing in front of my pads."
Pujara predicted a difficult time for batsmen on Day Five. "There is enough rough for the spinners and the cracks will open up a bit more," he said.
India 323-4 decl and 502-7 declared (Rohit Sharma 127, Cheteshwar Pujara 81; Keshav Maharaj 2-129) v South Africa 431 (Dean Elgar 160, Quinton de Kock 111; R Ashwin 7-145) and 11-1
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