Indian Batsman Cheteshwar Pujara has praised Hardik Pandya's performance in the Galle Test and suggested that he should continue to bat in his explosive style. Pujara, who scored 153, built a partnership with Shikhar Dhawan which helped India to put a huge score of 600 runs in the first innings.
Hardik Pandya left no stone unturned as he marked his Test debut with a half-century from just 49 balls. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and justified captain’s faith. Pujara also impressed by the 23-year-old player’s performance.
"He's a very good all-rounder. When it comes to his batting, he is trusting his strengths. The way he was batting, I think that is the way he should be batting going ahead. It was the right situation for him.
"I think he could dominate the bowlers, play his shots and especially when he is playing with the tailenders, that's the way he should be playing. And he has showcased that even at the highest level. Being an all-rounder it always helps for the team because we need someone who can bowl ten overs in a day if there is an opportunity. So someone like him who can bat well and give us 8-10 overs in a day, he is the perfect all-rounder for us," said Pujara in the press conference as reported by PTI.
Before Pandya’s knock, Pujara and Dhawan gave India a great platform for a huge first innings score. Dhawan missed his double century in Test as he scored 190 runs off 168 balls. During his innings, he built a great partnership with India’s reliable batsman Pujara as they added 253 runs for the second wicket on day one after India won the toss and chose to bat first.
"The way my partnership was with Shikhar Dhawan, I think both of us batted really well, especially him. The way he started off yesterday, it was challenging for him, he was making a comeback and the way he batted, and it was a pleasure to watch from the other end.
"Playing against spin, I think as Indian batsmen, we have enough exposure playing in the domestic circuit. That is the reason all our batsmen have been batting well.
"When you start off well, it always put the opposition on the back foot. We stuck to our strength, we focussed on the things that we wanted to and we excelled as a team," Pujara told reporters.
Pujara, who is in the fourth position in the ICC Test rankings, has proven himself as an able successor to Rahul Dravid. Although he is an integral part of the Indian Test side, he is yet to replicate the same kind of form in the shorter formats. Further, he is not part of the any IPL franchise.
Pujara contributed 153 runs in India’s first innings against Sri Lanka and he credited County Cricket for his consistent performance.
"Playing County cricket is always challenging. So you never get easy runs. Most of the times, you are playing on challenging wickets. So as a cricketer, it teaches you a lot. You grow as a cricketer, your technique improves and when you come and play international cricket again, you have some experience of playing first-class cricket and you are always in touch with the game. So playing some County games did help me," Pujara stated.
"I played about four County matches which always helps. When I have some time in between Test matches and if I am not part of the IPL, I prefer to go and play some County matches. It gives me exposure, playing in different conditions, facing different bowlers," he added.