IND vs SA | Confident that the pitch will deteriorate on Day 4, says Cheteshwar Pujara

IND vs SA | Confident that the pitch will deteriorate on Day 4, says Cheteshwar Pujara

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Cheteshwar Pujara scored 53 runs in the second innings of the Johannesburg Test


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Cheteshwar Pujara believes that the pitch will deteriorate on the Day 4 of Johannesburg Test and it will be difficult for hosts to chase down target. Pujara added that the backing from team management inspired him and Ajinkya Rahane to score a half-century in spite of going through a lean patch.

India are leading the three match Test series against South Africa by 1-0. The second Test in Johannesburg stands in balance as South Africa are on 118/2 chasing a target of 240 at the end of Day 3. India will look forward to wrap up the opposition before that to win the fixture and the series. For South Africa, Rassie van der Dussen is playing on a score of 11 runs while Dean Elgar will start his innings from score of 46 runs. 

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara believes that the pitch will deteriorate on Day 4. 

"Always important to get some runs as a batsman, especially on challenging pitches where you can't score big runs. It's been challenging and we have runs on the board, so it is very balanced. Although we didn't take too many wickets, we are confident that the pitch will deteriorate tomorrow," Pujara said at the end of third day's play on Wednesday.

Dean Elgar has played a gritty knock so far. He was beaten outside the off stump frequently but hasn't been dismissed yet. Elgar also scored a half-century in the previous Test in Centurion. He will be the most crucial wicket for visitors to secure a victory on Day 4. Pujara said that the team should get Elgar out quickly. 

"The way he bats, it looks like there will be a catch coming into the slips," Pujara said. "Every time he makes a lot of runs and gives his team a good start. Hopefully, he will get out quickly. He has a different technique and temperament and it looks weird sometimes but he makes runs and we have to get him out quickly,” he stated. 

Team’s two senior batsmen, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are going through a rough patch in Test cricket. However, they both stitched a century stand between them which helped India managed a competitive score on the scoreboard. Rahane scored 58 runs while Pujara amassed 53 runs in the second innings. Both the batsmen counterattacked opposition bowlers during their partnership. Pujara credited the backing of team management for the knock. 

"We are very confident, there is a lot of backing from team management," he said. "We have been learning from Sunny bhai (Sunil Gavaskar), he has always been supportive whenever I have spoken to him. There will be questions when we go through bad form, no doubt about that but Ajinkya and I are confident players,” he explained. 

"We are working hard on our game. As they say, form is temporary, class is permanent. I feel that applies here, we have done well for the team in the past. The management has showed a lot of faith in us and that will pay off for sure. It has already paid but I feel, as batsmen once we are back in form, you keep scoring runs and it keeps going up,"

Rishabh Pant has also been out of form with bat lately. He is repeatedly getting dismissed in an attempt to play aggressive strokes. Pant was dismissed in a similar manner in Johannesburg as he stepped out of the crease and swung his bat only to get a top edge to the wicketkeeper. Pujara backed Pant saying that he will improve as a player and will learn about shot selection with experience, 

"We keep having conversations with the coaches about batting, some technical aspect or the other. It is very necessary so you can understand your own game, which shot you can play and which you cannot. Rishabh has done well for us. We know how he plays. He is young and he will learn from here with regards to which shot to play or not to play. As he moves forward he will improve as a player," he concluded. 

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