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November 16, 2012
Cheteshwar Pujara batted for 513 minutes for his unbeaten 206, which took England's ordeal in the field to 640 minutes, following which he saw England lose three wickets in a little over an hour. That has given him enough confidence to believe the match might not need to go into the fifth day.
"It's going to be a challenging task for them," Pujara said when asked if he thought England could come back from here. "The way they were batting it looked like they were a fragile batting line-up for sure."
The three England wickets have made everyone look at the pitch in a different light. "I think there's quite a lot of rough on the wicket and it's turning quite big," Pujara said. "The kind of momentum we got in these 18 overs I think we can bowl them out tomorrow. Obviously we'd like to finish the game before five days."
After the first day Virender Sehwag had said the pitch was easy to bat on if you didn't play your shots. Pujara had a different take. "There is nothing wrong with the wicket," he said. "We've got three wickets, the ball is turning. We have utilised the conditions better than them."
Even before the series began, Pujara had said he was comfortable against the England bowling. His quiet confidence only restated that belief. "I'd like to mention that it was good that I got out on 87 in the practice game," Pujara said. "If I had ended up scoring a hundred, I wouldn't have had the same motivation to score a hundred and then turn it into a double-hundred in this game.
"I was comfortable facing all the bowlers. Initially my concern was Graeme Swann because I hadn't faced him before. But after I faced a couple of overs against him, I felt that I could manage."
The result was his maiden double-century in Tests, but also Pujara's ninth 150-plus score of the 16 times he has reached 100 in first-class cricket. Nine of those 150-plus scores have come in his last 10 first-class centuries. He sounded proud of that habit.
"I've done the same thing in domestic cricket," he said. "I never like to get out. There's always a price on my wicket. Even after scoring a double-hundred I never wanted to give away my wicket. That's the reason why I'm able to score big runs."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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