Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored a timely unbeaten 135 on day two of the Colombo Test, addressed the media at length after the day’s proceedings at the SSC.
The right hander spoke on how his English County stint helped in scoring his century against Sri Lanka and on India’s strategy for Day three.
Excerpts from the interview:
A word on his superb century
CP: The idea was always to play my natural game and play strokes on the merit of the ball. I did not really concentrate on what was happening externally and tried to play my natural game and enjoy myself.
Who do you credit this century to?
CP: It has to be India ‘A’ coach Rahul Dravid who helped me during nets and helped hone my technique. He (Dravid) also asked me to look at lessons learnt from my previous tour to England and was confident of me doing well in this particular series.
Any changes in technique?
CP: Playing close to the body. I have always lost my wicket when I played away from my body on many occasions and thanks to Sanjay Bangar (Team India batting coach) I made some adjustments coming into this game.
Grass on the wicket?
CP: Well, during the net practice sessions we had grass on the pitches and it helped me adapt. Even the other batsmen benefited from those practice sessions and I learnt a bit watching them bat on such wickets.
Was this the toughest track you ever played on?
CP: Not really. Still, scoring runs on this wicket was not too easy either. I had to play late and hit boundaries off the loose deliveries which required a lot of patience.
Did your County stint help?
CP: Definitely! I have had previous English County stints with Derbyshire and Yorkshire and playing on those wickets was no piece of cake. Playing on such difficult wickets helped me hone my game and I used that experience to come out and score runs today.
Amit Mishra’s fine 59
CP: Amit (Mishra) was excellent throughout the partnership and his knock helped us get to 292. We played our innings with soft hands thus not allowing any chances for the slip fielders. Also I had once scored a 150 in South Africa on a difficult track, the experience of which came in handy during this knock.
Plans for Day three?
CP: The idea is to put 30-40 more runs on the board and try and get them out as cheaply as possible. Also apart from me and Amit, other batsmen like Rohit Sharma were instrumental in us getting to this position.