The four-match series currently stands level at 1-1 and now both teams will lock horns in a pink-ball Test, beginning February 24 at the Motera Stadium.
The second Test pitch led to some sort of criticism from former players like Michael Vaughan and Mark Waugh and the duo termed the pitch as “sub-standard”.
“Sometimes you know when you are playing on a turning track, you find it difficult but at the same time, it was not a dangerous pitch at all. When the ball spins you know people find it difficult to score runs, especially the overseas teams. When we go overseas and we play on seaming tracks, the game finishes in three or four days. We still have to play on such wickets where there is a lot of grass or seam movement,” said Pujara replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Saturday.
“In turning tracks, one cannot define how much the ball can spin. It is a very thin line in that way. I do not think it was a bad pitch, it always becomes difficult in the second innings, this is how it is. When we play in Australia, there are cracks on day four and five, it is a little dangerous, the oddball hits the crack and it might take off. As a team I do not think we had any issues, once opposition teams start playing more on these pitches, they will be fine,” he added.
Asked about the pitch for the upcoming day-night Test, he said it is an important game to qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship.
“We have played just one day-night game in India and it was with the SG ball. Domestic games which I have played were with the kookaburra ball. To be honest, it is difficult to predict whether you can keep the grass cover. It is an important game for us to qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship, we will try to focus on the game,” he said.
“Even though I have played so many Tests, with the pink ball, I also don’t have much experience. I do not think experience matters a lot when you are playing the one-off game with the pink-ball in a series. As we keep playing more, we will get used to it. It is just Test cricket, we will have to play normal cricket. As a team, we have certain goals as a batting and bowling unit, we will stick to them. The next two Tests are very important for us, we will like to stick to our game plans,” he added.
Pujara said Motera Stadium is a beautiful stadium.
“It is a new stadium and pitch. Once we play more games here, we will get to know about the pitch. It is a beautiful stadium, we all are enjoying it here. We had a gym session yesterday and we had a net session today. I played in Ahmedabad in 2012, I have fond memories of playing against England here. We are looking forward to this Test,” he said.
India had achieved an emphatic 317-run win against England in the second Test of the ongoing four-match series. As a result, the series stands level at 1-1 and Virat Kohli-led side has also reached the second spot in World Test Championship (WTC) standings.
India remains in contention to make the final of the ICC World Test Championship. The victory in Chennai on Tuesday has lifted India to the second position with 69.7 percentage points on the points table but they cannot afford to lose another match as they need to win 2-1 or 3-1 to qualify for the final of the maiden edition of the championship.
England, who led the table after winning the opening Test, has slipped to the fourth spot with 67.0 percentage points. They can still qualify, but for that, they must win both remaining matches of the series against India.
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