Indian batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara has revealed that the dressing atmosphere was quite tense towards the end of the Sydney Test match as the visitors were desperate to draw the encounter.
Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin resisted the Aussie bowling attack for almost 43 overs to help India achieve a creditable draw in the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. This was after Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara had raised hopes of an unlikely Indian victory with their 148-run partnership earlier in the day.
In a post-match interview with the Sony Sports network, Cheteshwar Pujara was asked about the dressing room atmosphere during the last ten overs of the match.
The resolute batsman revealed that everyone was anxiously hoping for Vihari and Ashwin to play out the remaining overs. He added that India's hopes of chasing the 407-run target were dashed when they lost him and Pant in the space of a few overs.
Vihari was batting in the middle with a hamstring injury while Ravindra Jadeja, the next batsman in, had a fractured thumb.
Cheteshwar Pujara said:
"We were quite tense and nervous as we wanted a draw badly. Because the way we started, there was also a time when we had a very good opportunity to win the match. But when Rishabh got out and then when I got out after that, the possibilities got reduced slightly because Vihari had got injured and Jaddu was also not fit. So, we did not have too much depth."
The 32-year-old lauded all the Indian batsmen and bowlers, adding that the result was achieved with the efforts of the entire team.
"So the only option we had was a draw and the way we achieved that was a great team effort. Everyone batted very well and even if we talk about the bowling yesterday, even though we may not have taken too many wickets, the bowlers were putting in the full effort from their side," added Pujara
"I am quite relaxed currently" - Cheteshwar Pujara
Sanjay Manjrekar also asked Cheteshwar Pujara how he was feeling after the mentally exhausting knock that he had played.
The latter revealed he is feeling more at ease after finally converting the starts he was getting to a more substantial score. He added that he grew in confidence as his innings progressed.
"The way I was batting throughout the series, I was getting the good starts but I was not able to convert those starts. So the way I batted today, especially when the second new ball came I was able to play my shots, so I am quite relaxed currently and all the players are looking forward to the fourth Test match."
With Rishabh Pant going after the Aussie attack from one end, Cheteshwar Pujara played the ideal foil for him at the other end. The latter also took a more attacking approach after reaching the half-century mark and, at one stage, even struck Pat Cummins for three consecutive boundaries in an over.
Published 11 Jan 2021, 15:41 IST