Pujara and Rahane had been in wretched form in the run-up to this second innings and their 111-run stand formed the cornerstone of India setting a target of 240-run for the Proteas.
Asked if he and Rahane felt the pressure after legendary Sunil Gavaskar had predicted that second innings could be their last chance, Pujara’s reply had the same positive intent that was there during his batting.
“We are confident and there is a lot of backing from team management. We have always been learning from Sunny bhai and whenever I have spoken to him, he has always been supportive,” Pujara said at the end of the day’s play.
He understands that questions will be asked when runs will dry up but players like him and Rahane have won a lot of games for the team.
That’s Stumps on Day 3 of the second #SAvIND Test!South Africa move to 118/2 at the close of play & need 122 runs… https://t.co/78nJmvBKuW
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1641397524000
“Yes, there are times when you are going through bad form, there will be questions but we are confident players. Myself and Ajinkya and we know we are working hard on our game and there’s a saying form is temporary but class is permanent and it applies here.
“We have done well in the past and management has shown a lot of faith in us and it has paid for sure and once a batter is back in form, you keep scoring runs and keep going up and up,” he said.
For Pujara it has been a great thing that both coach Rahul Dravid and captain Virat Kohli have supported him.
“The team management has always been supportive except the outside noise, coaching staff, captain everyone has been behind the players.
“There are times when you don’t get too many runs but it is important to follow the right routine and keep working on the game because at times, you won’t get runs but if you follow the right processes, you will get runs and this is what has happened. I am sure this form will continue.”
Heavy roller settles the pitch down
Pujara is confident that the pitch will deteriorate in the second hour with variable bounce coming into play.
However the use of heavy roller on the track does make batting easier, he admitted.
In Pics: Elgar defies Indian bowlers as South Africa launch tough chase in second Test
<p>South African captain Dean Elgar defied a hostile Indian bowling attack on a difficult pitch to lead his team’s quest for a series-levelling win on the third day of the second Test at the Wanderers Stadium on Wednesday. (AFP Photo)</p>
“I think with heavy roller, the pitch settles a bit, it takes a little bit of time for cracks to open up as the dents are there and it settles down a bit. After an hour or so it starts having variable bounce, that’s what we are expecting tomorrow, first hour it might play nicely,” he said.
Pant will come good
Pujara backed Rishabh Pant who copped a lot of flak for charging down the track to Kagiso Rabada and throwing his wicket away.
“We all know that Rishabh plays an attacking game. While he didn’t get runs in this game, he will surely come good in the coming games,” Pujara said.