It’s at once easy and difficult batting alongside someone like Sachin Tendulkar.
Easy, because one can slip under the radar and go about his job. Difficult, because the batsman is condemned by comparison.
On day two, Cheteshwar Pujara, in the course of his fluent 44, not only held his own against the bowling, but also kept pace with Tendulkar, who immaculately shredded the Australian attack.
Pujara, though, was unhappy with the timing of his dismissal. “I was set and things were going smoothly for us. I think Pattinson was their best bowler today.
“They were trying to get the ball old as early as possible and get reverse swing but we were prepared for it. We are still in a good position,” he told the media after play on Friday.
His dismissal, Pujara said, was a combination of the ball keeping low and him being late on the shot. “We are used to it (inconsistent bounce) and so it wasn’t a big problem. I didn’t sight the ball after it pitched.”
The 25-year-old also spoke of the importance of effective communication in his 93-run partnership with Tendulkar.
“I have not seen Sachin paaji in such a positive mind-set. It was important for us to build a partnership and we kept talking about how to counter reverse swing.”
Pujara added, “I watched him bat in the nets during the England series and there was nothing wrong with him. Unfortunately, he did not get runs in the series. He was timing the ball well even in the (pre-series) camp at Bangalore. It was really a pleasure watching him bat.”
Bowling to a plan
Later, Pattinson, who hunted down three Indian wickets in only six overs that he bowled, said bowling in short bursts was part of a plan.
“I was planning to be as aggressive as I could. I’d have liked to have bowled a bit more and was planning to bowl at the end, but (Mitchell) Starc was bowling pretty well. Hopefully I’ve saved some up my sleeve for tomorrow. “If you bash the wicket enough, there is variable bounce and there’s a little bit of reverse. Two wickets early tomorrow is the key for us.”
The Victorian speedster laid emphasis on using the crease well. “Over here, I think it’s about attacking the stumps and the angle from which I bowled gave me the chance to get people bowled. I wanted to come wider to the stumps.”
Pattinson, while defending Nathan Lyon, acknowledged that Australia had let the game drift in the final session. “Probably the field we set was quite defensive but we were stopping the fours. It can work both ways. Nathan bowled really well and he was probably unlucky with the Tendulkar lbw. He will only get better.”
The 22-year-old felt wickets on this pitch were more an outcome of inconsistence bounce rather than big turn. “Sehwag’s wicket was a result of the ball hurrying on and the one that Pujara got out to kept low. It’s about lengths. Ashwin bowled a fantastic length. The best way is to put the batsmen in two minds whether to play forward or back.”