Cheteshwar Pujara has lavished praise on Hardik Pandya after the allrounder’s impressive show in his debut Test against Sri Lanka at Galle. The 23-year old, who has been in fine form since the Indian Premier League, made the most of the opportunity against a lackluster Sri Lankan bowling attack by slamming a quickfire 50 to propel India to a mammoth 600 in the first innings.
Pandya came to the crease when India were reduced to 491 for 6 in the first session of the second day’s play but he forged useful partnerships with the lower-order batsmen to help India post a formidable total. He was the last wicket to fall but before that he had slammed 50 off just 49 deliveries with the help of 5 fours and 3 sixes.
Speaking after the day’s play, Cheteshwar Pujara praised Pandya and called him the perfect allrounder for the team.
“I think he is a very good all-rounder. When it comes to his batting, he is trusting his strength. The way he was batting, I think that’s how he should be batting even going ahead. This was the right situation for him, the way he bats. He could dominate the bowlers, he could play his shots. When he is playing with the tail-enders, that’s the way he should be playing. He has showcased that even at the highest level. Being an all-rounder it always helps because we need someone who can bowl 10 overs in a day if there is an opportunity. He is the perfect all-rounder for us,” Pujara said at the post-day presser.
Pujara also played a big role in India’s big total as he scored 153. The knock extended his impressive run in Tests after he amassed over 1300 runs in the last season.
When asked whether he gets an extra motivation to perform in Tests, he said:“Whenever I play cricket, at the international or first class level, I enjoy this game. I don’t need any extra motivation as far as cricket is concerned. I love playing this game, I love my batting. Whenever I get the opportunity to score some runs or do something on the field, I always like that challenge and I am always very well prepared. I trust in my preparation and work hard on the same. Whenever there is a challenge, I am always up for it.”
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka were 154 for 5 after the second day’s play.