Town - Indian No 3 Cheteshwar
Pujara admits that this South African attack is one of the
best he has ever faced in Test cricket.
Pujara and his Indian team-mates
were bowled out for 209 on
day two of the first Test against the Proteas at Newlands, and that could have
been a lot worse had the hard-hitting Hardik Pandya not smashed 93.
Pandya did ride his luck - he was
dropped on 15 and survived a stumping chance - but he was still the shining
light in what was an otherwise disappointing Indian batting effort.
The visitors arrived in South
Africa confident that, this time around, they were equipped to deal with the
pace, bounce and movement that comes with playing in this country.
Instead, Vernon Philander (3/33),
Dale Steyn (2/51), Morne Morkel (2/57) and Kagiso Rabada (3/34) made the most
of the Newlands wicket as India's batters struggled.
Pujara himself had done all the
hard work on day two, batting through the entire morning session before a lapse
in concentration saw him removed by Philander with the very first ball after
lunch when he edged to Faf du Plessis at slip.
His knock of 26 was the next
highest Indian score after Pandya, and he confirmed after the day's play that
the South African attack was up there with the best he had seen.
"This is one of the best
bowling attacks I’ve faced. You know that is their strength and you need to
know how to counter-attack," he said.
"All of their bowlers have
done well, especially in South Africa. They know which areas to bowl in.
"At the same time, when I
bat I don’t look at the bowler or the bowling line-up. I just try and a look at
the ball and keep it simple. I would rather concentrate on what I want to do
rather than whether they have the best bowlers in the world. It hardly matters
… if you bat well, you can score runs."
The good news for Pujara and his
team-mates is that they will almost certainly not be seeing that bowling attack
Steyn is out with an injured heel,
and he is not expected to feature in the remainder of the series.
South Africa will resume their
second innings on day two at 65/2 with a lead of 142, but Pujara believes that
India are still well placed in the contest.
think we are in a good position. We got the two wickets today," he said.
"If we bowl well tomorrow
and are chasing anything around 350, I think we are very much in the game.
"Our batters in the first
innings didn’t click and I think we will have a better showing in the first