Fans bowed down to Cheteshwar Pujara who played a knock which saved Indian team from an embarrassing first innings score. When India lost Virat Kohli at the total of 19, half of the Indians went back to sleep in the early morning. At one stage, India was 127/6 with Pujara, their last hope still fighting in the middle.
Pujara, who was run-out in the last few minutes of Day one, scored 123 and did his job with full responsibility. He made sure the visitors don't lose grip of the game in the first day itself. India still has something to bowl as they have put up a score of 250 on boards with the last pair yet to be dismissed.
No one really stood beside the Saurashtra batsman. There were only cameos from Rohit Sharma (37), Rishabh Pant (25) and R Ashwin (25) but they are peanuts in Test cricket.
Pujara was himself very much satisfied with his innings and he went on to rate it among his top 5 knocks. “It is one of my best innings in Test cricket, can put it even in the top 5. My teammates were certainly saying so!” said the centurion at the press conference.
Despite winning the toss and getting the benefit of batting first, India failed to add partnerships in their innings. Four of top five batsmen, KL Rahul, Murali Vijay, skipper Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane lost their wicket playing a drive.
"We should have batted better but they also bowled well in the first two sessions. I knew that I had to stay patient and wait for the loose balls. The way they bowled, they bowled in the right areas. I also felt that our top-order should have batted better but they will learn from the mistakes," he said on Thursday.
"Hopefully we will bat well in the second innings. As far as my innings is concerned, I had prepared well and overall I have the experience of first-class and Test cricket and that came in handy today," he added.
Pujara found a bit of support from the lower order batsman Ravichandran Ashwin. They stitched up a partnership of 62 which worked well in recovery.
On batting with the tail he said, "It has to be different because when you are batting with the tail, you never know how long can they bat. You have to take your chances but you can't do the same when you are batting with a (top-order) batsman. When you are just 1 or 2 down, you can't play the same shots.
"Also, the difference is, I had batted for two sessions and I knew what the pace and bounce of the pitch were. I was set, so I could play my shots. "
He had to walk back in an attempt of stealing a single. Pat Cummins' direct hit did what Australians bowlers couldn't do.
"I was a bit disappointed but I had to take that single because only last two balls were left and I wanted to be on strike. I took the chance but Pat Cummins fielded brilliantly," he said about his dismissal.
Pujara approves India's score in the first innings and he believes it is an adequate total.
"I would say it is a decent total because there is enough turn. Ashwin will also come into play. It is not an easy wicket to bat on. Sometimes when you are seeing it on TV, it doesn't look like it is doing a lot. But when I batted in the first and second sessions, I felt it wasn't easy to bat on and with our fast bowlers, I will share my experience of what line and length to bowl on this pitch.
"It is the grass. The odd ball is skidding on and the oddball is holding a bit more from the grass. I would say it is kind of a two pace and it is not easy to bat."
Pujara reached from 89 to 99 in just two balls with a six and a four. He revealed about his preparation to hit sixes.
"To be honest, when I was preparing back home, I was working on a few shots and that was one of them. I wasn't surprised that I hit it for a six because I had worked on it back home. I had to obviously bat for two sessions to realize that these are the shots I could play and there were some shots which I had to avoid," he said.
(With PTI Inputs)