Shami injury not serious, says Pujara

Mohammed Shami has likely suffered only a minor injury and is expected to be back on the field on Sunday, Cheteshwar Pujara said after the third day's play at Eden Gardens.

Mohammad Shami plays a shot at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Saturday.   -  PTI

Batting on the surface at the Eden Gardens was demanding. Cheteshwar Pujara and Angelo Mathews – both notched up half-centuries – shared their thoughts after the day's play.

Pujara said, “Personally, I always love playing on challenging wickets because it suits my temperament, it suits my technique. That's where your character comes out.”

He added, “This game is well balanced. If we can get them out early and have enough number of overs left, we have a chance of winning. Hopefully tomorrow morning our fast bowlers will be fresh and if we get a couple of wickets, we can run through them.”

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The Indian batsman said playing county cricket helped him cope with the pitch here. “This season, I played eight games which is almost half the number of the county matches in a season. I played on many challenging wickets over there, it helped me improve and understand my game.”

Asked about Mohammed Shami’s injury, he replied, “I don't think there's anything serious, but I don't know what has happened. I think it is just a minor injury and I think he should be back on the field tomorrow.”

‘Decent total’

He said India’s first innings effort of 172 was a “decent total” since the pitch was slightly damp and the conditions were overcast. Pujara added, “We're ready to play on any kind of wicket. This team for any conditions.”

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Mathews’ return at the Eden Gardens marked the end of a frustrating injury-ridden phase. The former Sri Lankan captain said he had “temporarily” decided to stop bowling in Tests to manage his body better. “We will see how it goes. Yes, as of now I am playing as a batsman.”

Mathews said Sri Lanka needed someone to come up with a hundred. “Fifties are not going to do any good to anyone. If we get a start we need to go on to get a big one.”

Asked about the Indian pace attack, he said, “Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav are world class. We need to be mentally prepared and be ready to score runs off them. I think we can.”

Queried whether Sri Lanka had the advantage at this point, Mathews said, “You never know. Cricket is a funny game. You can’t take the foot off the gas.”

On batting on this wicket, Mathews said, “The liveliness has been there right through and it offers a lot to the fast bowlers. You have got to forget about the last ball that might have beaten you, wait for the loose delivery and then score runs.”