Following the conclusion of the first day of the first Test between India and Bangladesh, Indian middle-order veteran Cheteshwar Pujara said that the surface was challenging to bat on and that he is not too worried about not being able to reach three-figures to break his century drought.
Brilliant half-centuries from Shreyas Iyer and Cheteshwar Pujara with a partnership stand of 149-run guided India to 278/6 against Bangladesh on the first day of the opening Test of the two-match series here at Zahur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium in Chattogram on Wednesday.
“The way I was batting, this pitch was difficult to bat on. I was extremely happy with the way I batted. Sometimes, we pay a lot of attention to the three-figure mark, but more important thing while playing this sport is to get your team in a position from where you have a chance of winning. This pitch looks like it would produce a result. My partnership with Shreyas Iyer was important. I am not too worried about not getting a hundred, hope it will come soon,” said Pujara in a press conference after the conclusion of the day’s play.
Pujara has not scored a century in international cricket since January 2019, when he had smashed 193 against Australia.
The batter said that 350 runs would be a decent total in the first innings since the surface has enough turn for spinners and India has three spinners in their team.
On his partnership with Rishabh Pant, Pujara said, “He (Pant) plays attacking cricket, which is good for us. When we are partners, it creates pressure on batters. He plays his shots, It makes my batting easier and I get some loose balls too. We enjoy our partnership as he knows that I am there at the other end. He plays his natural game.”
The batter admitted that his stint in county cricket has helped him improve his game.
In his eight matches for Sussex during the County Championship, he scored 1,094 runs at an average of 109.40. He scored five hundred-plus scores in the championship in 13 innings, with the best score of 231. He was the fourth-highest run-scorer in the championship.
At the end of day one, Iyer was batting unbeaten at 82 runs in 169 balls. Iyer and Pujara rise to the occasion and scored crucial half-centuries at a time when India was down and out.
India resumed their innings at 174/5 after Tea, Pujara showed his attacking intent as he slammed Ebadot Hossain for a beautiful four runs. The duo of Iyer and Pujara kept piling runs while hitting boundaries at regular intervals. Pujara showed his masterclass as he brought up his gritty half-century in 125 balls with stunning back-to-back fours. This was Pujara’s first century since January 2019.
In the 63rd over of the game, Iyer also brought up his much-needed fifty with an outstanding four in 93 balls. The duo continued kept piling runs, bringing up their 100-run partnership while taking India beyond the 200-run mark.
Iyer and Pujara kept rotating the strike as the vice-captain took a more aggressive role as the innings progressed. Bangladesh made several attempts but they were not successful to break the partnership.
Taijul Islam gave India a big blow as he dismissed well-set batter Pujara. Taijul finally broke the blistering partnership stand of 149 runs between the Indian vice-captain and Iyer in the 85th over of the game. Pujara departed after playing an excellent knock of 90 off 203 deliveries.
The left-handed batter Axar Patel then came out to bat, but could not do much as he was dismissed by Mehidy Hasan Miraz on the last ball of the day for 14 off 26. India ended the first day of the match in a comfortable position.
India were at 174/4 at Tea due to an unbeaten 62-run stand between Iyer and Pujara. India managed to score 89 runs for the loss of one wicket in 30 overs during the second session, placing the team in a respectable position. At Tea, Iyer (41*) and Pujara (42*) were at the crease.
Resuming the innings at 85/3, India looked dominant with Rishabh Pant continuing his onslaught as he became the fastest to hit 50 sixes in test matches. After the lunch break, Bangladesh missed a trick when they dropped Pujara on the second ball after lunch.
Bangladesh got some respite in the wicket of Pant as he gave away his wicket while trying to dominate the bowlers. He looked in ominous touch in his 45-ball stay in which he scored 46 runs with the help of six boundaries and two towering sixes.
India’s most successful batter in the ODIs this year, Shreyas Iyer walked into bat and had a stroke of luck on his first ball as his edge landed just wide of slip. However, that was the only hiccup that the batter faced during the second session.
He played a steady and fluent knock continuing his rich vein of form in 2022. Pujara did what he does best as he made sure to anchor one end and kept blocking the balls to ensure Bangladesh don’t make further inroads.
The duo batted superbly to negate the turn that the bowlers were able to extract while playing delightful shots every once in a while. They ensured that India has the upper hand in the match as they took the team to 174/4 at the end of the second session.
Earlier, India opted to bat after winning the toss and ended the first session at 85/3. An unbeaten 37-run stand between Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara guided India to 85/3 in 26 overs at the time of lunch in Chattogram on Wednesday.
Rishabh Pant came when India was 48 for 3 and gathered 29*(26) before the lunch break on Day 1. Pujara was playing at an unbeaten 12 off 32 at lunch.
Brief Score: India 278/6 (Cheteshwar Pujara 90, Shreyas Iyer 82*; Taijul Islam 3-84) vs Bangladesh (ANI)
This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.