Describing the Johannesburg pitch as "one of the toughest", India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara feels they have enough runs (187) to take advantage of the third Test against South Africa.
On a grassy 22-yard surface, captain Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first. After losing the openers KL Rahul (0) and Murali Vijay (8) cheaply, Kohli and Pujara battled hard against the Proteas pace attack to score half centuries on the opening day yesterday (January 24). At stumps, the hosts were 6/1.
Also read: 3rd Test Day 1 report
Barring Kohli and Pujara, rest of the batting line-up failed at The Wanderers Stadium. Bhuvneshwar Kumar (30) was the only other batsman to get a double-digit score. India were bundled out for 187 in 76.4 overs, which according to Pujara is like 300 on a normal pitch.
"This is one of the toughest pitches I have played on. It was difficult to score runs. It has lot of bounce and seam movement. We had to work hard to score runs. The amount of total (187) we have is as good as scoring 300 on any wicket. If we bowl well we will get them out. It was a good day for us. I am very hopeful that on this wicket we have enough runs," 30-year-old Pujara said after the first day's play.
India's number three batsman Pujara, took 54 balls to score his first run. He hung in there and registered a half century (50 off 179 balls). Kohli made 54 off 106.
When asked about his struggles at the crease, Pujara said it was not a struggle and a batsman is never "in".
"On this wicket you won't be able to bat without getting beaten. I won't say it was a struggle. If you score a 50 on this pitch it is a good knock," he said.
He was queried about the decision to bat first and he explained that the pitch would get difficult to bat on as the game progresses and hence they wanted to make first use of the wicket.
"As the game progresses it will be difficult to bat on. Cracks are opening up and some balls deviated a lot. I haven't seen that deviation before. As the game progresses this wicket will have variable bounce. That is the reason we chose to bat first," he said.
South Africa have already claimed the three-Test series with a 2-0 lead after wins in Cape Town and Centurion.