Pujara: ‘Confident of batting last on this pitch’

Cheteshwar Pujara said India could chase a target of around 350 in the fourth innings of the Test.

Pujara was appreciative of Hardik Pandya’s effort with the bat and the ball.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

Cheteshwar Pujara said India could chase a target of around 350 in the fourth innings of the Test here.

“There are areas in the pitch from where the ball is still seaming around. We will try to exploit that tomorrow. I have heard there is a prospect of rain as well on Sunday.”

He added, “But otherwise the wicket is improving and we are confident of batting last on this pitch.”

Pujara was appreciative of Hardik Pandya’s effort with the bat and the ball. “He showed a lot of character out there for India. He backed his strengths as a batsman and counter-attacked. Then, he picked two wickets with the ball to keep us in the game.”

The Indian batsman said, “Pandya has not played much outside India but has a very good temperament. That is why he is there in the side as an all-rounder.”

On his own dismissal, Pujara said he should not have gone for a delivery outside the off-stump. Looking back, he noted, “We lost three quick wickets on day one. We should have batted better.”

He said the South African pacemen bowled well. “We know that they would do well on these pitches. They have a very good pace attack and know the conditions here.”

Asked about bouncers bowled at the tailenders from both sides, Pujara said, “That’s a part of the game. You got to accept that.”

South African paceman Kagiso Rabada said, “We bowled short from round the wicket and the ploy worked for us. We were happy. There is also no short-pitched ball truce between the pacemen and the tail-enders these days.”

On the loss of Steyn, Rabada said, “Now we will have to find a way to win the Test with three fast bowlers. There is some work left to do.”

Asked about Pandya’s batting, Rabada said, “That’s the way he plays. Sometimes it comes off for him. It also gives the bowlers a chance.”