Cheteshwar Pujara is hopeful that India will take the remaining seven wickets on the final day of the one-off Test after Bangladesh finished the fourth day on Sunday at 103 for three, chasing 459 for win here at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.
Speaking to media at the end of day’s play, Pujara said that India was aware that Bangladesh batted well in the first innings when conditions were difficult for the bowlers.
“The wicket has started turning now. Slightly on the slower side. Opened up a bit and should offer more assistance to the spinners tomorrow,” Pujara said
“We actually expected the pitch to turn on day three. But, credit to our bowlers for the way they have bowled and showed lot of patience,” Pujara pointed out.
When quized why India did not enforce the follow-on, Pujara reminded that since the Indians fielded for more than 100 overs, the thinking was to give at least a session’s break to the bowlers and also let the batsmen score as many as possible between lunch and tea breaks to set a big target.
On whether a different Pujara will be on show with the bat in the days to come after the aggression he showed today, the soft-spoken Saurashtra batsman felt today was one opportunity for him to approach his batting differently.
“We knew that we had to bat only for one session taking some risks which otherwise would not be the case generally in a Test,” Pujara said. “The thing is I can play a whole range of shots as you might have seen in domestic cricket."
"The target was to score 150-200 runs before we make the declaration," he added.
Speaking about Ravichandran Ashwin’s world record of becoming the fastest to reach 250 wickets in Test, Pujara said that the former can be the toughest spinner for any opposition.
“I congratulate him on setting this world record. The kind of brains he shows, he is very smart. A bowler who thinks as a batsman,” Pujara observed.
“I don’t think Ashwin was desperate in the first innings when Bangladesh batted well. He understands the situations where he should bowl tightly. He did bowl to a plan. One should always remember that we as a bowling unit have a plan,” he remarked.
Bangladesh batting coach Thilan Samaraweera hoped that his team would not let the momentum shift in the first one hour tomorrow.
“I just hope the players will stay calm and show the mental toughness,” he felt.
“It is important for us to come good as a unit. It is not that one specific player or the other has to don the anchoring role. We need at least four to five of the remaining batsmen to do that,” he pointed out.
“Obviously, captain Mushfiqur Rahman has been one of the best Test batsmen for us. He shows lot of guts and wants to lead from the front,” the batting coach remarked.
Speaking about Shakib Al Hasan, who threw away his wicket after he was looking good in the first innings here, Samaraweera felt that is the way he plays. “But, it will be good for the team if he stays there for long even while playing his natural game,” he added."
"Yes, the biggest concern for us has been batting in second innings of a Test match and facing reverse swing in international cricket,” Samaraweera observed. “Well, these are things which you will learn if you play more and more Test matches.”
When asked to make a comparison between Ashwin and the Sri Lankan great Muthiah Muralitharan, Samaraweera said they were two different and great bowlers.
“Muttiah set a benchmark for others to follow with his 800-wicket haul in Test cricket. It is like Gavaskar (Sunil) setting it for Sachin (Tendulkar) and then he setting for Kohli (Virat) in batting,” he said.
“But, I must say Ashwin is a very smart bowler with lots of variations which can trouble the best of the batsmen,” the Bangladesh batting coach said.