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‘It was my best Test knock so far’

Monday, 20 March 2017 | PTI | Ranchi

Wriddhiman Saha on Sunday rated his 117-run knock against Australia as his "best" Test knock so far and said the support he is getting from his teammates has had a positive influence on his batting.

Saha played a key role along with Cheteshwar Pujara (202) to hand India a first innings lead of 152. "This is the best among the three I have. We badly needed partnership. My partnership began slowly. One of the best," Saha said at the press conference.

"Pujara always backed me to play my shots. Told me to be positive. I had the same approach here. I played in positive sense, so it came out well. Wicket-keeper batsman added. He told me to break it up and think of small, small partnerships of 10-20 runs each. I just backed my strength and showed respect to good balls."

Saha further said the support he got from his teammates, has given him a lot of confidence. "I didn't really change the way I batted. I'm backing myself more now. When I'm playing sweep shots or stepping out, I used to have doubts early in my career. Now the team is supporting me. It's have a good effect on me."

Saha said his 316-run unconquered stand with Pujara in the Irani Trophy final inspired the two of them to bat well. They had rattled up that stand in the second innings, which eventually shaped Rest Of India's six-wicket win for over Gujarat. "The way Pujara was batting it never seemed we would lose a wicket. We did well in Irani Trophy. It was playing in our mind. We knew that we could do well if we back ourselves. We just tried to do that and looked for loose balls and run well between wickets," Saha said. "Puji has so much patience. He scores 200-300 in domestic cricket almost routinely. He is always on the top of his game. He showed great patience here. He was losing partner at the other end, and we were not getting really big partnerships. He curtailed his shots, trying to build big partnerships."

Pujara was attacked with a slurry of bouncers by the Aussie pace duo of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood and the latter had some exchange in the middle with Saha.

The Indian wicketkeeper said he told Hazlewood to 'go back and bowl'. "Little banter always goes on. Pujara was telling him 'look at the scoreboard'. He was on 180-odd then. They said something to me as I just said 'go back and bowl'. Nothing more than that," Saha said.

Saha nicely ducked the rising deliveries from Australian pacers, who peppered him with the short-pitched stuff. "I practice batting against short bowling at the nets under the supervision of batting coach and Anil Bhai. My strength is leaving, and I try that."

Saha said India would look to continue with the momentum created in the last session. "We would look to bowl the same way and land the ball in the same areas consistently. Every bowler will be effective. The ball was turning and some are keeping straight. Jadeja's one ball turned from the rough to bowl out Warner while the other one turned from the stump against Lyon. He's doing well," he said.

 
 
 

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