India fielding 'fantastic' overall - Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara has said that India did what they could with the ball but Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling batted superbly to deny them. McCullum was put down twice - on 9, by Virat Kohli and on 36, by Ishant Sharma - but Pujara maintained India's fielding had been "fantastic" and that the odd dropped catch was inevitable.
"Have to give credit to their batsmen," Pujara said. "Brendon batted well and that partnership was very crucial for them. We tried our best but they were the winners in that last session."
India had New Zealand down on 94 for 5 in the 38th over, but the bowlers failed to disturb the McCullum-Watling stand for the next 61 overs. The pitch was getting better for batting every day, Pujara felt, and said considering that, the Indian bowlers had performed well. "Our bowlers did a very good job and bowled in the right areas. They didn't allow them to score many runs, a good sign for us. Overall looking at the wicket they bowled really well. It is just that we didn't get as many wickets as we wanted but still we did a pretty good job."
New Zealand's lead is still only six runs and while Pujara said India would want to chase as few as possible, he felt India still held the advantage, and it was a matter of a breakthrough next morning. "Really fantastic game so far. But we are still in a very good position. If we can get a couple early wickets then we can go through the tailenders. A lot of time is available. We are happy with the way things have shaped up. We could have been happier with a couple more wickets but we are in a good position and a good chance to win this Test match."
India could have possibly closed out the game had they taken the chances McCullum offered, but Pujara said the visitors had been doing decently on that front for a while now. "If you look at both the Test matches we have taken so many good catches. So you are bound to drop a few catches. Overall the Indian fielding as been fantastic, not only this tour but also in South Africa. There were quite a few good run-outs and catches. It is not good to pinpoint a couple dropped catches or missed chances. It happens in this game, each and every team goes through this phase."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo