It’s advantage India for second Test, says Pujara

Bengaluru, Nov 12 (IANS) Wrapping up the first Test in Mohali within three days on a winning note against South Africa last week, it’s advantage India in the second Test that begins on Saturday, in-form batsman Cheteshwar Pujara said on Thursday.

“Psychologically and team-wise, we can say that we have the advantage, as we had a good (first) Test match. We are focused on what we have to do to succeed in this match,” Pujara told reporters here ahead of the second Test against the Proteas in the Mahatma Gandh-Nelson Mandela series.

After losing the three-game T-20 and five-game ODI series to the visiting team, India beat South Africa by 108 runs in the first Test on November 7, with a brilliant spin attack in three days when as many as 40 wickets fell.

“Though the two teams are equal, we cannot take them (South Africa) lightly as they are a good side in Tests. We will be focused on the match rather than worry on what combination they might play,” Pujara said before going into the nets for a practice session at the Chinnaswamy stadium under a cloudy sky.

Crediting the Indian spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Amit Mishra for the victory in the first Test, Pujara said that though the Proteas’ spin attack was good, the home team won the match as its trio did better than its counterpart.

On his own form, the 27-year-old right-hander asserted that since he started playing first class cricket in 2005, he had been in good nick and was confident of being consistent in the current Test series too.

“When I started my cricket career, I had a doubt if I would make it to international cricket. It was a time uncertainty. I am out of it now. If you work hard and make runs in any game, be it domestic or for your club, it gives you confidence and makes you believe in yourself,” Pujara recalled.

On the captaincy of Virat Kohli and that of former Test captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Saurashtra cricketer said he did not believe in comparisons, as both have their own game plans.

“I don’t believe in comparisons. It’s not up to me to assess how good Dhoni was and Virat is. The ultimate thing for any captain is to win the game for the team and each player in India team contributes,” Pujara said.

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