Need to hit form quickly when playing one format: Cheteshwar Pujara
Visakhapatnam, Oct 5: Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara on Saturday said he needed to get back to form as soon as possible as he plays only one format. Pujara scored an aggressive 81 off 148 deliveries (13x4, 2x6), his first fifty after five innings, as India set South Africa a target of 395 on Day 4 of the first Test at the ACA-VDCA Stadium here.
Rohit Sharma underlined his credentials as a Test opener with a second consecutive hundred to star for the hosts with a record-breaking 127.
The pair added 169 for the first wicket as India declared on 323/4.
"Sometimes just playing one format affects you, but that allowed me to work on my fitness and fielding, and I think that worked out well for me.
Just have to take it in your stride. You need to get back to form ASAP when you play just one format," Pujara said after the day's play.
At close of play, the Proteas were 11/1 still needing 384 runs to win.
"Yes, I think it was a tough pitch. I was finding it difficult to rotate the strike early. Once I was in, I knew I could accelerate. We wanted to put up a decent total by tea. Things worked out in my favour and Rohit batted really well so that helped me. I think it was the intent that changed after the drinks break," Pujara said of the partnership.
The pair accelerated towards the end of the second session as India looked to set a decent total and declare.
"I knew early on I have to get used to the pace and bounce and once I knew that I knew what kind of shots to play on the pitch. It was slower and it wasn't easy to play my shots but I knew my impact point had to change in my shots," Pujara said.
Talking about his lean patch in the West Indies, Pujara said: "I got a couple of good balls in West Indies and it had to be accepted. Failure makes you a better batsman and I knew I was just one knock away from getting back into form."
India have the fifth day to wrap up proceedings and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. But South Africa have shown in their first innings that they can fight back with a total of 431 in reply to India's 502/7d.
"I think there are enough runs on the board and we have 98 overs. It's still a tough pitch to bat on and it's never easy to play on a two-paced pitch," Pujara said.
"It'll spin out of the rough a lot on Day 5 so batting will certainly not be easy. I've been working a lot on my fitness and I have started recovering quite well."