Kolkata: Former India captain Sourav Ganguly feel Cheteshwar Pujara’s solidity was a perfect foil for Virat Kohli as the pair went about building a strong base for India. Speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, Sourav commented, “I think Pujara is a perfect foil for Kohli with his solid technique and defence. I think they both batted exceptionally well. Pujara’s record against England is terrific. His combination with Kohli augurs well for India as both complement each other. Pujara at times can get aggressive and Kohli likes to dominate and play his shots. On difficult conditions Pujara can drop his bat and Kohli can score at the other end. So they are a perfect foil to each other.”
The left hander also complimented Pujara for his form of late. Ever since he was dropped in West Indies on grounds of strike rate, he has bounced back well into the team scoring a double hundred in Ranji and following it up with three test tons.
According to Sourav, “Pujara is best No. 3 batsman in the country now. He has the perfect technique to be successful in that position. Earlier, in order to give opportunity to others his batting order was experimented. He was even dropped in West Indies citing his poor strike rate. There was no logic in that decision. He has a better strike rate than most of the others in the team. He has been scoring runs consistently. Today also he went in to bat in a tough situation.”
Always a supporter of Virat’s batting , the former captain praised Virat for batting India out of trouble.
“He is leading from the front. It seems Vizag is proving to be a lucky ground for Virat. He has now score three international hundreds in this venue. And all the centuries came against better opposition. He is a performer and is giving an ample proof with his batting. He took the attack to the opposition camp after Anderson and Broad was looking to dictate,” said Sourav.
The former captain was a little surprised with the decision of Cook to bring Moeen Ali so late in the day. “It was surprising to see Cook bringing on Ali to bowl after almost 40 overs. In the last series against India in England he took 20 wickets. He has done well against India so far in his career. So, it was a bit strange decision for me. That gave the Indian batsmen to settle down and put a firm footing in the match,” feel the left hander.
Commenting on the decision by the team management to drop Gambhir, Sourav said, “The Indian team needs to take a decision on Gautam Gambhir. If they think that he is the way forward, Kohli and Anil Kumble need to sit and tell him – listen we don’t want you to play keeping in mind just one test in mind. It’s just too much pressure on Gambhir and it’s not fair.”
“You have given a fair run to Rohit Sharma you have given a fair run to Murali Vijay and KL Rahul. I think, if you pick Gautam Gambhir – for that case any batsman whether it’s Karun Nair in the future, we have to give him a fair go.”
“If Gautam sticks to the scheme of things, you have to put your arm around Gambhir and say listen we are backing you don’t feel the heat of every Test match.”
Lastly, he reckons Virat won a good toss. “Toss is very important to win a test match here in the sub-continent. And specially on a square turner like Vizag, toss will be a huge factor. India did well to bounce back after the initial jitters. Only a miracle can save England from winning the Second Test match. If India bats till Tea tomorrow, then it will be very tough for England to save this test. It will be very difficult to hand Ashwin on this surface.”