Cheteshwar Pujara, the lone Indian batter to score a half-century in the entire third Test, has no hesitation in terming the Holkar Stadium track as a “tough pitch to bat on.” Pujara once again showed his steely resolve, scoring 59 off 142 balls before a brilliant diving catch by rival captain Steve Smith off Nathan Lyon’s bowling ended his vigil.
“It’s a tough pitch to bat on. It’s not easy, you need to trust your defence, make sure you need to get to the pitch or, if it’s short, play off the back foot,” said Pujara, who scored nearly half of India’s second-innings runs, which ensured a lead of 75 for the hosts.
India were bundled out for 163 with Lyon taking eight wickets for 64 runs.
While the total doesn’t look defendable, Pujara is hoping against hope.
“75 may not be too many, but there’s a chance,” Pujara told Star Sports at the end of day’s play.
Asked about the strategy needed on this track, Pujara said one also needs to attack suitably as he showed by hitting one of his rarest sixes in Test cricket off Lyon.
“You need to attack and defend, a mix, on this pitch. If you keep defending, one ball will bounce and hit your glove. My aim was to be a bit more positive, try and score as many as possible.” Pujara rued that he didn’t have a bigger stand with in-form Axar Patel, who ran out of partners in the end.
“If there was a bit more partnership with Axar, it could’ve helped. I’m learning a few more tricks, if there’s demand, I feel rather than playing too many dot balls, if you can take a few chances, you can get runs. Now I’m confident whenever it’s needed, I can play those shots,” he said.