“Sometimes, we just pay attention to the three-figure mark”

Team India batter Cheteshwar Pujara downplayed missing out on a century on Day 1 of the opening Test against Bangladesh in Chattogram on Wednesday, December 14. He stated that putting the team in a winning position is more important than individual goals in sports.

Pujara top-scored for India on Day 1 of the first Test. He scored a defiant 90 off 203 balls, hitting 11 fours. The No. 3 batter was looking good to register his first Test hundred since January 2019. However, he was dismissed a few overs before stumps, bowled by Bangladesh left-arm spinner Taijul Islam.

Batting first after winning the toss, India went to stumps at 278/6, with Shreyas Iyer unbeaten on 82 off 169 balls. At a press conference following the end of the opening day’s play, Pujara was asked about missing out on yet another Test hundred.

He preferred to look at the positives and replied:

“The way I was batting, and looking at the pitch, it was not easy to bat on. I am really happy with the way I batted today. Sometimes, we just pay attention to the three-figure mark. But the most important thing when you play this sport is to try and put the team in a position from where we have a chance to win the game.”

In the last 51 innings – Pujara has 14 fifties but no hundreds, he has fought numerous times for India still the hundred is staying away. https://t.co/aUZektF8yo

Reflecting on his dismissal, Pujara admitted that he got a good delivery, and there was hardly anything he could do about it. The 34-year-old said:

“You want to get to the three-figure mark, but the way I batted, and those 90 runs, they were important for the team. It is not just about adding those 10 more runs. It was a good ball. There is nothing I could have done about it.”

Pujara was dismissed in the 85th over of India’s innings. He tried to defend a delivery from Taijul, but the ball spun past his bat and went on to strike the stumps. Had he reached his hundred, the 34-year-old would have registered his first Test ton since the 2019 New Year Test against Australia in Sydney.

“You can’t bat time on this pitch” – Cheteshwar Pujara

While Chattogram has traditionally produced batting-friendly wickets, India did not find things all that easy after winning the toss and batting first. They slumped to 48 for 3 before Pujara and Shreyas rescued the innings.

Asked to assess the surface, Pujara described the pitch as one on which you cannot survive by playing out time. He explained:

“It was a good challenge. Every ball wasn’t turning, so it’s even more dangerous for the batters when the odd one comes in. You can’t relax on this pitch. You can’t bat time on this pitch. One ball will get you out.”

While Pujara and Shreyas starred for India on Day 1 of the Test, left-arm spinner Taijul claimed 3/84 in 30 overs for Bangladesh.

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Edited by Renin Wilben Albert

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