Adelaide, Dec 6: India's first innings hero Cheteshwar Pujara on Thursday conceded that the top-order should have batted better on day one of the first Test against Australia. For his gritty knock, Pujara got a salute from cricketing greats Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag
Pujara's 16th Test hundred and first in Australia helped India recover to 250-9 at stumps, after they had been reduced to 127-6 at one stage."We should have batted better but they also bowled well in the first two sessions. I knew that I had to stay patient and wait for the loose balls. The way they bowled, they bowled in the right areas. I also felt that our top order should have batted better but they will learn from the mistakes," he said on Thursday."Hopefully we will bat well in the second innings. As far as my innings is concerned, I had prepared well and overall I have the experience of first-class and Test cricket and that came in handy today," he said.Pujara put on vital partnerships with R Ashwin and Ishant Sharma in the end, as the Australian pacers tired. He opened up and played a few more shots to take India to what the batsman ascertained to be a competitive total.He added that the wicket wasn't as easy to bat on, and that he needed to take a lot of time to play his shots, which again reflected poorly on how the Indian top-order batted on Thursday."It has to be different because when you are batting with the tail, you never know how long can they bat. You have to take your chances but you can't do the same when you are batting with a (top order) batsman. When you are just 1 or 2 down, you can't play the same shots."Also, the difference is, I had batted for two sessions and I knew what the pace and bounce of the pitch was. I was set, so I could play my shots. I was a bit disappointed but I had to take that single because only last two balls were left and I wanted to be on strike. I took the chance but Pat Cummins fielded brilliantly," he said of run out on what turned out to be the final ball of the day.Pujara feels 250 is a decent first innings total, considering the conditions."I would say it is a decent total because there is enough turn. Ashwin will also come into play. It is not an easy wicket to bat on. Sometimes when you are seeing it on TV, it doesn't look like it is doing a lot. But when I batted in the first and second sessions, I felt it wasn't easy to bat on and with our fast bowlers, I will share my experience of what line and length to bowl on this pitch."It is the grass. The odd ball is skidding on and the odd ball is holding a bit more from the grass. I would say it is kind of a two pace and it is not easy to bat."Pujara is not known for hitting sixes but it is something he prepared for ahead of the series."To be honest, when I was preparing back home, I was working on a few shots and that was one of them. I wasn't surprised that I hit it for a six because I had worked on it back home. I had to obviously bat for two sessions to realise that these are the shots I could play and there were some shots which I had to avoid," he said.Pujara later said his gritty hundred in the opening Test against Australia ranks among the top five of his 16 centuries in the longest format.This was the second overseas hundred for Pujara this year, after his effort in Southampton against England. He also scored fighting half-centuries in the two Test wins at Johannesburg (against South Africa) and Nottingham (against England)."It (Thursday's knock) is one of my top innings in Test cricket, I could say top five. I can't rate if it was one of the best but the teammates were appreciating, they were saying it was one of the best," he said at the end of day's play here with India at 250/9 thanks largely to his effort.Pujara scored 246-ball 123 to pull India out of trouble in the ongoing match here.The 30-year-old said although a majority (10) of his 16 hundreds are at home, it in no way suggests that he is more effective on Indian pitches. Only three of Pujara's overseas hundreds have come outside the sub-continent."...people have always said that I have scored more runs in India. But at the same time, you also need to look at the number of matches we play in India. If we have played more number of matches in India, obviously I will score runs there," he reasoned.The right-hander said he has never been short of confidence while taking guard on foreign pitches."At times, I have had a bad phase playing overseas but I still feel very confident playing in different conditions and playing county cricket has helped me a lot."Playing in England, conditions are always challenging and when you come to Australia, you know that pitches are slightly better and as I said, I had decent time to prepare before the Test series," he said.
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