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Kohli heaps praise on Pujara & Saha

| | Ranchi

India captain Virat Kohli was on Monday effusive in his praise for Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha's record 199-run stand, saying that it was the "best" partnership he has ever seen.

Pujara (202) and Saha (117) steered India to 603 for nine against Australia and gave the team a substantial 152-run lead in the third cricket Test, which eventually ended in a draw.

"KL Rahul (67) and Murali Vijay (82) batted beautifully but the partnership between Pujara and Saha is the best I have seen," said Kohli at the post match presentation ceremony. "We never thought we would be able to take 150-run lead. Then yesterday two wickets fell and we thought we had a good chance. But credit to the two (Australian0 batsmen (Shaun) Marsh and Peter Handscomb (for their 124-run stand for the fifth wicket and saving the match), they batted really well," he added.

Kohli said that his team got itself into a very good position where they could have enforced a victory.

"We got ourselves into a very good position," said Kohli.

"Losing the toss here was never easy. Not being able to take the field (due to injury) was never easy for me and then watching the opposition get big runs was difficult. But we batted beautifully."

Applauding his players' desire to stand up and be counted, Kohli said: "Guys want to push the barrier, their physical limits, their mental toughness. Credit to Australia for playing out the draw, but we played ourselves into a position where we could have won."

Heaping praises on both Pujara and Saha, the skipper said: "When you play only one format, you are always extra determined to make it count. Pujara is very motivated, and he is really good at Test batting. This is the best I have watched him bat. "Saha did it in West Indies, he did it in Calcutta as well, and here under pressure, he really stood up. You feel happy for him because he is such a wonderful guy. Always smiling, always happy for whoever achieves anything."

Jadeja also came in for a special mention from the India captain. "Jadeja is unbelievable. I have never seen anyone bowl so economically for so long ever. He knows his limitations and sticks to it."

Kohli said that the team would continue to do what it has been doing in the fourth and final Test at Dharamsala.

"Dharamsala, no different from what I have done here. We have given our best here, and as long as we keep doing that, I am sure we will get ourselves into winning positions," he said.

‘Lack of hardness in ball hurt us’

Lack of hardness in the ball during the middle session was one of the factors why India could not force a win in the third Test against Australia, reasoned captain Virat Kohli.

India went wicket-less in the post-lunch session with Peters Handscomb and Shaun Marsh frustrating Indian bowlers with their dogged batting.

"When the ball was new last night, it spun well off the rough. Even this morning, it was spinning well. In the middle session, the ball was not hard, so could not generate that kind of pace from the wicket.

“On day five, wicket slows down, we took new ball later and got a couple of wickets. But the hardness of the ball in the middle session was a factor," Kohli said at the post match press conference. 

 
 
 

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