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Indian Batsmen Wanted To Prove Themselves - Pujara

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India finally got a chance to make an impression on this tour of Australia and on day three they came out with flying colours. Responding to the hosts’ 517 for seven declared, the visitors scored 369 for five in their first innings, with stand-in skipper Virat Kohli scoring his seventh Test hundred. 

Kohli shook off the first-ball hit he had received on his head from Mitchell Johnson and recovered to score 115 runs, putting on 81 runs for the third wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara (73) for the third wicket.

He added 101 runs for the fourth wicket with Ajinkya Rahane (62) and another 74 runs for the fifth wicket with Rohit Sharma who was unbeaten on 33. Murali Vijay too scored a half-century for India. 

"First reaction was that everyone went to Virat and asked him if he is all right. When I went and asked, he first checked the helmet.

"He was fine and he carried on. Later we discussed about that ball and how to play that ball and how he played it. But he did well to forget that ball and struck a crucial century for us. It was fun to watch his innings," said Pujara, who was with him at the crease at that time.

While Kohli went on to make his hundred, it was disappointing for Pujara to not reach three digits himself as he was dismissed by Lyon in an awkward manner.

"I was quite unlucky with that dismissal. I didn’t know where the ball was. Later when I saw the replay, I thought I might have stopped the ball but it went quite fast to the stumps and I didn’t have enough time,” he said.

"Lyon has improved his bowling from the last time I played him in India. He was trying to bowl in the rough and he got some help from there and he was really bowling well.

"But we discussed yesterday that we needed to fight back in the match," said Pujara after the day’s play.

"We talked about what they have scored on this pitch and the kind of wicket this is. We discussed that given the batting line up we have we can surely achieve this.

"Overall we have a very good, young batting line up and it was about proving ourselves. We did that and we are in good position to achieve our targets."

This was Pujara’s only second half-century in the last 16 Test innings, with the last one coming in England where he had a miserable time on tour. Thereafter he had a stint with county side Derbyshire to improve his batting and it finally paid off.

"I have prepared hard for this tour. I believe in preparation and even though I just scored 73 runs,

"I am quite happy with how it worked out for me. Earlier, at times I have been getting good starts but have not been able to capitalise on them," said the Saurashtra batsman.

"You cannot possibly score double hundreds all the time. The conditions here are quite different from the ones in Derbyshire. But playing there helped me obviously.

"When you play there in England, you have fast bowlers swinging the ball all the time because they get help from the wicket. You have to be technically correct all the time to survive there and so it does help," he added.

At the end of play, India were still trailing Australia’s first innings score by 148 runs. There are two days remaining in the match and the way Lyon bowled it seems spin might have a big say in the remaining six sessions. 

"We had big Ishant Sharma running down the middle of the wicket, bowling to David Warner around the wicket, so I am thankful for him making some footmarks for me and bowling around the wicket to Davey," he said.

"I'm looking forward to bowling more into those footmarks and hopefully he bowls there again and does it for the whole series," said the spinner.

When asked about Kohli’s scary moment and the concern shown by the Australian players, Lyon replied, "As bad as it sounds, helmets work and that has been a positive thing today.

"It is vital for our quick bowlers to have that confidence for our quicks to bowl the bouncer again. We spoke about that at lunch time with Mitch, so he’s feeling good and I can guarantee he’s going to come out and fire in the second innings and have that aggression we all love him for.

"I know I went to everyone just to ask if they were ok, because it's something you don't want to see again. We were out there for Phil's incident and today that sound was pretty familiar.

"That's why we all ran in there quite quickly to see if he was ok. It's something you don't want to see ever happen again, what happened with Phil," Lyon added.

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