At the start of the day, the game was in balance as if Australian team would have got an early breakthrough, the game could have gone in their favour but the duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha did not let that happen as they just stamped their foot on the crease, for the first two sessions of the day and added 167 runs to yesterday’s total to help Indian team gain a lead over Kangaroos.
“WE NEEDED A PARTNERSHIP, AND WE BUILT IT SLOWLY. PUJI (PUJARA) MADE A DOUBLE HUNDRED AND I MADE A HUNDRED. THIS HAS TO BE THE BEST,” SAHA SAID IN THE POST-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE.
“THE WAY PUJI WAS BATTING, YOU DIDN’T EVER FEEL THAT A WICKET WOULD FALL AT ONE END. WE HAD A 300-RUN PARTNERSHIP IN THE IRANI CUP, THAT WAS THERE ON OUR MIND TOO. WE BELIEVED THAT WE CAN BAT TOGETHER FOR LONG.
“IN THAT GAME, PUJI BACKED ME AND ENCOURAGED ME TO PLAY MY SHOTS AND BE POSITIVE. THE SAME APPROACH WAS THERE TODAY AS WELL. EVEN WHEN I DEFENDED, I DID IT IN A POSITIVE SENSE AND WHEN I PLAYED MY SHOTS, THEY WERE ALSO IN A POSITIVE SENSE. HE BACKED ME, HENCE IT WAS POSSIBLE TO HAVE A GOOD PARTNERSHIP,” HE ADDED.
But it was not just Pujara but Saha too played an innings of 117 at a time, when the game was still in favour of Australians but these two batsmen stood at the crease as solid as a rock, to lead India to a safe shore.
For the first five years of his Test career, Saha did not get many chances due to the presence of MS Dhoni in the team but from the day he retired, Saha became the first choice as wicket-keeper in the longest period of the game. During this period, he also got injured and players like Naman Ojha and Parthiv Patel played for India but every time Saha made a comeback to playing XI.
On asked whether he has brought about a change in his batting, Saha said,
“NOT TOO MANY CHANGES. BUT I AM BACKING MYSELF A LOT MORE. INITIALLY, WHEN I CAME INTO THE TEST TEAM, I PLAYED MY GO-TO SHOTS — THE SWEEP AND THE SHOT OVER THE TOP STEPPING OUT – HESITANTLY. BUT NOW I AM 100% CONFIDENT. THE TEAM, THE CAPTAIN, THE COACHES, EVERYONE IS FULLY BEHIND ME AND THAT IS GOOD FOR ME.”
During the innings, the Australian bowlers tried to sledge the pair of Saha and Pujara and Pujara gave the best reply as he asked Josh Hazlewood to have a look at the scorecard,
“DURING THE GAME, THIS (BANTER) HAPPENS FROM TIME TO TIME. ALL PUJARA TOLD JOSH HAZLEWOOD WAS ‘LOOK AT THE SCOREBOARD’. HE TOLD ME SOMETHING AND I ALSO TOLD HIM TO JUST GO AND BOWL, NOTHING MORE THAN THAT,” SAHA REVEALED.
Indian team have made a strong comeback with two wickets at the stroke of stumps. These two scalps from Ravindra Jadeja has now handed an advantage to the home side and if bowlers can get four to five wickets in the first session, then by no chance Australia can hope for even a draw.