Pujara hails batting unit
Cheteshwar Pujara, the India A captain, has praised the team's batting as the main reason for success in the A-team tri-series in Pretoria. India's batsmen put up scores of 285 or more in each of the four league matches, and though they managed a less substantial 243 in the final, it proved sufficient to beat Australia A by 50 runs.
"As a unit, we wanted to win this series," Pujara said. "A couple of the league matches didn't go our way and those were quite close games. We lost two games against Australia and I thought we would have won at least one of them. Our batting unit did a really great job and that was our strength. In the final, the bowlers stood up and did the job for the team."
While visiting sides have generally struggled against the pace and movement on offer during the South African season, teams put up large totals in this series. Both India and Australia are set to tour South Africa later this season, and Pujara felt the conditions during the tri-series didn't mirror what the national teams will be faced with.
"I don't think the conditions will be the same when we come back," Pujara said. "Wickets are quite flat out here at the moment and when we come in December the conditions will be hugely different and we are aware about it. It's about getting used to the conditions, not the wickets only but the weather and other aspects of this game."
The flat tracks also provided a severe test for India's largely inexperienced bowling attack, besides posing a challenge to Pujara's captaincy skills. "The matches were quite high scoring and it was difficult for the bowlers to execute their plans," Pujara said. "When you have 400 on the board and you still feel it is chaseable, it's a difficult job for the captain and for the bowlers, because at times what they want to do, it's not possible. But we stuck together, we realised the wicket was flat and we were bound to get hit but if you had plans you wanted to execute, you should continue trying that."
With the tri-series completed, Pujara and his team will now shift their focus to the two four-day games against South Africa A which will provide a chance for several fringe players to push their case for a Test berth. The first of the four-day matches starts on Saturday at Rustenburg.