On a day-one pitch that was offering square turn and variable bounce from the first session, Shreyas Iyer exhibited commendable amount of decisiveness in his foot movement and courage in shot selection. His 98-ball 92 carried India to a competitive first-innings score of 252 in front of a packed crowd at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Talking about his innings, Iyer said: “On this wicket, those defending the ball were vulnerable to nicking. There was variable bounce but you can’t be negative. The wicket was not that great. My plan was to cut down the spin. I was standing on the middle stump and stepping across the wicket so that I could cover the turn and take a single through the midwicket region. When you step out, you also play with the mind of the bowler and spoil his line and length.”
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Asked if years of domestic grind with Mumbai helped him better negotiate the challenging conditions in the middle, Iyer said: “These kinds of wickets remind me of those [pitches]. I followed the thought process I would in the Ranji Trophy. You can't plan on such wickets and you need to have a really good day. You need to think that you will not get out.”
He was also helped by some poor bowling from Sri Lanka's spinners, who offered him plenty of half-volleys and half-trackers. The Mumbai batter, who was stumped trying to play a big shot, said getting the team to a fighting score was more satisfactory. “It is disappointing to miss out on a hundred, but the team got to a good total. So, I have no regrets. Actually, that 50 was like a century. That’s why I celebrated like that,” Iyer said.
Summing up his views on the surface, Iyer said: “From a championship point of view, we want to win every game and that cannot be achieved if you are put on such challenging wickets. But it’s really fun to explore such wickets and perform at the highest level.”