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'One of my top innings in Test cricket' – Pujara relishes Adelaide effort

Aus v India, 1st Test, day one, reaction

Cheteshwar Pujara, who scored a 246-ball 123 to pull India out of a muddle in the first Test against Australia, says the effort was "one of my top innings in Test cricket".

The Indian top-order failed to acclimatize to the tough conditions at the Adelaide Oval and at one stage, it looked difficult for the visitors to cross 200. However, Pujara dug in deep, helping his team to 250/9 at stumps on day one. 

"It is one of my top innings in Test cricket, I could say top five," he said. "The way the team-mates appreciated it, they were saying it was one of the best."

"It was tough but I was set and I knew I could play my shots, especially when we lost the seventh wicket."

One of India's better periods in the game came when Pujara and Ravichandran Ashwin applied themselves to put up a 62-run stand for the seventh wicket. Their partnership gave the visitors a way back into the game. 

"Myself and Ash were having a good partnership but once we lost Ash, I thought I had to accelerate," said Pujara. "I knew what shots I could play on that wicket because I had batted for two sessions, and I think it was tough it was considering the weather. It was quite hot, we are used to it in India but still..."

"I would say it is a decent total because there is enough turn. Ashwin will also come into play. It is not an easy wicket to bat on. Sometimes when you are seeing it on TV, it doesn't look like it is doing a lot but when I batted in the first and second sessions, I felt it wasn't easy to bat on. I will share my experience of what line and length to bowl on this pitch with our fast bowlers.

To be honest, we should have batted better but they also bowled well in the first two sessions and I knew that I had to stay patient

"It is the grass. The odd ball is skidding on, and the odd ball is holding a bit more from the grass. I would say it is kind of a two-paced pitch, and it is not easy to bat on."

KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane were dismissed for below-par scores, as regular wickets helped the hosts get a foothold in the game. While Pujara admitted that the batting from India's end was underwhelming, he did not shy away from giving credit to the Australian bowlers. 

"To be honest, we should have batted better but they also bowled well in the first two sessions and I knew that I had to stay patient and wait for the loose balls," the Indian No.3 batsman pointed out.

"The way they bowled, they bowled in the right areas. I also felt that our top order should have batted better, but they will learn from the mistakes and put up a better show in the second innings."

Pujara's hamstring gave him problems later in the innings and ultimately led to his dismissal off a run-out on the final ball of the day. 

"My leg got stuck into the pitch, and when I was trying to go for the second run, I had a little bit of a pull in my hamstring but I am going to consult the physio now," Pujara concluded. "Hopefully it is not too bad."

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