After Cheteshwar Pujara scored brisk 91 not out to help India end Day 3 of Headingley Test at 215/2, Rohit Sharma said that people forget what the 33-year-old has done over the years. Rohit urged people to not have a short memory and remember the exploits of Pujara in Australia.
England took a massive 354-run lead in the first innings and needless to say, India were under immense pressure of surviving and may be taking the Test match to the fourth day at least. Jonny Bairstow took a blinder and visitors lost the wicket of KL Rahul (8) early but what happened thereafter was another show of the 'New Team India' and its resilience the world keeps on talking about.
Cheteshwar Pujara (91*) partnered for 82 runs with opener Rohit Sharma first and then joined forces with captain Virat Kohli (45*) to accumulate another 99 runs before the end of day's play due to bad light in Leeds.
Pujara's innings was different and he played some shots against his traits. For example, a pull on the 91st delivery of his innings to bring up his first fifty of the tour. Anything loose was punished from the right-hander. Towards the end of the Day 3, even the square leg umpire had to hurriedly sit down to save himself from a powerful Cheteshwar Pujara shot.
India opener Rohit Sharma has praised Pujara for his gritty innings under pressure and urged people to remember that the Saurashtra star helped India win 2-1 Down Under in January this year. Rohit also made it clear that Pujara gets constant backing from the team and the criticisms are always external.
"Pujara definitely came with an intent to score runs and this innings of ours was never about survival," Rohit Sharma said after the day’s play.
"We came with an intent to score runs. Pujara clearly showed that. Anything loose he pounced and that showed he had intent in his batting. He showed that any loose deliveries won't be spared," Rohit added.
"To be honest, there hasn't been any talks. Talks are happening outside. We know his quality and experience and I don't think we need to have much of a discussion. If you talk about recent performance, yes he has not scored runs but we saw crucial partnership between him and Ajinkya at Lord's.
"Not to forget what he did in Australia. He played those crucial knocks for winning the series in Australia.
The stylish batsman urged people not to have a short memory when it comes to achievers.
"Sometimes our memories are shortened and we need to think what the guy has done over the years. It's not about one or two innings or series," Rohit further added.
India are trailing by 139 runs and a lot will depend on Pujara and Kohli when they resume India's innings on Saturday.