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India are 35 runs short: Pujara

18th November 2017
On a seamer-friendly deck, Cheteshwar Pujara remained only silver-lining for India, while Angelo Mathews shone for the Lankans. Both the batsmen agreed temperament and taking responsibility was the key to their success.
Angelo Mathews remarked, “We know it is a challenging wicket for batters. Once in a while you play on this kind of wicket and you test your skill and fight out for runs. We just want to concentrate on the game rather than thinking too much about the pitch and score runs.” He added, “The current Indian seamers are top-class. But we have that belief of playing them well.”
While Pujara believed this sort of wicket brings best out of him by challenging his character, technique, skills. He opined, “Personally, I always love to play on challenging wickets, as it suits my temperament, technique and that is where my character comes out. Scoring run on such wickets is important as it gives batters confidence that you can pull your team out of trouble. When the wicket is difficult, I motivate myself by saying that today is the day I have to stay strong and show my character.”
The Number three of India said that country cricket gave him the exposure, experience to exist on such wickets. He stated, “County cricket has definitely helped me a lot. It gave me exposure and experience over there. As a batsman I learnt many things and improved my skills by understanding my game a lot better.”
For Mathews, experience always stands out in tough condition, as it is normal to get some brilliant deliveries. He said, “You bound to get good balls in every over. You have to forget the previous delivery and focus on the next. Wait for the loose deliveries and cash in straight way.” He defended his departure as he was just trying to extract some runs as hanging on the wickets without scoring runs would not help his cause.
Mathews returned to the side after nursing a calf injury and went through extra preparations both mentally and physically to get into rhythm. On not bowling in the match he said, “ I need to cut out the all-rounder part to manage my workload on body.” Pujara felt the wicket was much better to bat on. But they have a deficit of 35-40 runs which could be handy in this challenging condition-“This wicket does not yield 300-350 runs. But we might have 35-40 runs short. Still 170 is a decent score.” He added, “Initially the wicket was damp. The wicket got better today due to sunshine. But still the wicket provides assistance to the fast bowlers.”
However, Mathews thought that the wicket remained almost identical as first day. He said, “ The wicket has not changed drastically since first day. Still the wicket has enough lateral movement and seam to help the fast bowlers.”  
Hoping the seamers will be at top tomorrow he added, “The game is very perfectly poised. We are very confident that we will get them out early. If you get the remaining overs without any interruption, we can definitely win it.”      
The Lankans want to foil Men in Blue attack and try to snatch their first Test win in India. The former captain said, “We want to get 170 runs and try to get a satisfying lead.” He added, “We do not know the safe score here. So we want to score as many runs as possible and we hope that we will fetch a (favourable) result playing some good cricket.”

Ayan Das