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Pujara blames pitch for spin duo’s failure

| | NEW DELHI

India's prolific No 3 Cheteshwar Pujara defended his bowlers and said it was the nature of the Kotla pitch that was responsible for the team not achieving victory.

"Overall we have bowled really well, especially in this Test match considering the wicket. We were expecting this pitch to deteriorate a little more on day four and five but, maybe because of the weather, it remained a flat wicket. There wasn't much help for the spinners in the last two days," Pujara told mediapersons in the post-match conference.

He further expanded on the issue and described the lack of sharpness from spin bowlers as a one-off occurrence.

"If you look at the number of wickets they have taken, it's remarkable. In this home season, they have been the most difficult spinners for any opposition. This is one-odd game where there wasn't much assistance. In India, on any other pitch on Day five, there will be a lot more help for them," the Saurashtra batsman asserted.

India were very generous with their slip-catching in the Kotla Test. Pujara accepted the flaw but also revealed what the team is doing about it.

"We are having a chat about the slip fielding issue. There are some players who will be there throughout the away tours. We'll prepare those few players for the task. We'll also discuss the issue when we get there. But we have already started talking about it," the 29-year old explained.

Looking ahead to the tough overseas tour of South Africa on which the Indian team embarks in the near future, the centurion from the first game thought that the experience of having played in the country before would be useful for him and other players. "We have enough experience of being in South Africa. I have been there a couple of times. Many of the players in this team were on the 2013 tour. So that experience will definitely help us. Also, our fast bowling unit is much better now and I think fast bowlers will do the damage," Pujara stated confidently.

He also took a dig at the Proteas' batting line-up.

"The South African batting is not what it used to be at one time. That will give us some advantage."

Pujara, who was dropped from the Test team last year in West Indies, seemingly because of his batting style, refuted the claim that he has been asked to bat differently.

"I was always allowed to bat the way I want. The ultimate goal of any team is to win a Test match and when we play for the Indian team, its always about scoring runs and when it comes to test cricket we take it very seriously and we always try to win as many matches as we possibly can. We will look to win the series in South Africa," a smiling Pujara concluded by saying. 

 
 
 
 
 

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