Pujara concerned at plans for tail
Cheteshwar Pujara expressed concern that England's last three wickets added 294 runs after the bowlers had done all the work to have the hosts down at 202 for 3.
He was also disappointed at missing a golden chance to score a century on a flat and slow pitch, and leaving unfinished the task of taking India to absolute safety. He went for a cut on 55, but failed to keep it down and ended up offering a catch to point. But more frustrating was repeatedly failing to get through the tail.
"We will have to think about how to get the tailenders out," Pujara said. "The way they have scored after losing seven wickets, we will have to regroup and have a chat with the bowlers and plan for the next few matches in case the same situation arises. We will definitely need a strategy for the tailenders."
One of the reasons why India struggled with the lower order could have been that they didn't reverse-swing the ball as much as they would have liked. But Pujara said they did the best they could have done.
"I think we did overall get reverse swing," Pujara said. "But at times the ball was not carrying to the slips so there wasn't enough bounce from the wicket to get the reverse-swing going. At times when we did get the reverse, the ball didn't carry. Overall our bowlers did a good job. If you look at it we got the first seven wickets early. That is what we target, to get the top order as early as possible. Otherwise they batted well, and you have to give credit to them."
Pujara said he knew it was going to be hard work on this pitch. "We knew it wouldn't be easy to get them out because we also added more than 100 for the last wicket," he said. "They batted really well. Credit to them. Especially Joe Root. He didn't allow James Anderson to come to strike for the first three-four balls, and their plan worked out. I think it was obviously disappointing. We got seven early wickets, and then the lower order batted well for them."
Root and Anderson added a world-record 198 for the 10th wicket, which Anderson said was aided by the flatness of the pitch. It could be seen the pitch didn't have much in it even when India batted. Which is what will make Pujara kick himself even more. "I was disappointed at the way I got out," he said. "I should have batted more responsibly. It was almost evening, and the game was about to be over for the day, and we had just lost Vijay. I should have played a little more carefully. The ball bounced a little more than I expected, and I couldn't control it."
India now lead by 128 with seven wickets in hand, and a day's play on a slow low pitch to go. It is not surprising that they are not thinking in terms of a declaration now. "We just need to bat well in the first session," Pujara said. "Then we can take a call.