Adelaide, Dec 3 (GCSports) Cheteshwar Pujara, the India top-order batsman, doesn’t want to read too much into the Indians’ mediocre performance with the ball in the four-day tour game.
Playing against a Cricket Australia XI that had only one international in the form of D’Arcy Short, the Indians scored 358 – Ajinkya Rahane retired out – and then conceded 544 to the inexperienced local side before hitting back with 211/2.
“Conceding 500 runs in a warm-up game doesn’t mean anything. We are not very much worried about it. Our bowlers know what they have to do … they know what line and lengths to bowl in Australia,” said Pujara in the lead-up to the first Test, starting December 6 here.
Pujara, who scored 54 in the tour game, has an average record in Tests in Australia – 201 runs at 33.50 with just one half-century, an ICC report on Monday said.
“I can’t say whether it puts more pressure or less pressure – we play as a team, and when we are out there batting, it’s about batting as a unit,” pointed out Pujara.”
Pujara has a good overall record against Australia, though, having scored 1101 runs against them in 12 Tests at an average of 55.05, with two centuries – both doubles – and six half-centuries.
“It does help when you have performed well against a particular side. And when you have played some bowlers in the past you always know what are their strengths and weaknesses, what to expect from them. So playing and performing well against them will help me in this series,” he said.
“You always want to do well whenever you play for the Indian team. You have some goals as a batting unit and you want to accomplish that. Most of our batters are experienced enough so when we go out there we just trust our preparation and try to perform to the best of our ability,” Pujara said.
“But it will be a fresh start and I don’t want to focus too much on what I have done in the past, I would like to stay in the present,” he said.
Another player who will want to fix his record in Australia is Ravichandran Ashwin. On his first tour, in 2011-12, Ashwin had nine wickets in three Tests. In 2014-15, he did better, with 12 strikes in three games, but has an overall average of 54.71 with the ball.
“I always say that he’s a clever bowler. He reads the batsmen really well. And if you see his recent bowling, I think he’s made a lot of changes … he’s made some adjustments which have helped him,” said Pujara.
“He’s also played some county cricket and he’s played enough cricket in England, which is obviously overseas and different conditions and not much help for the spinners. So I think playing in Australia, he knows what he has to do. He’s very confident now and whatever adjustments he has to make, he’s already done it,” he said.
It’s a big series for India, against an Australian team without Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who are all serving ball-tampering bans.“We definitely want to win the series, but one Test match at a time. In India, we have been doing really well, but whenever we travel overseas there is always an extra motivation to do well,” said Pujara. “We have been playing good cricket outside of India now and this is a very good opportunity for the team to perform well.”