Cheteshwar Pujara credits 'international experience', team effort for India A's tri-series win
Even as India's bench strength is being tested, yet a lot of players from the India A have already honed their skills at the international level. According to skipper Cheteshwar Pujara, that experience helped the team in the one-day series.
Even the second lowest total of the tournament and supposedly weak bowling could not stop India A from a thumping victory in the final of the tri-series at Pretoria.
The batting charge was led by Shikhar Dhawan and Dinesh Karthik's 108-run third wicket partnership while bowlers got a strangle hold on the Aussies early on and never let go after that. Skipper Cheteshwar Pujara was unequivocal on the contribution of the likes of Shami Ahmed, Suresh Raina, Shahbaz Nadeem and Parvez Rasool, who all bowled meagre spells and took crucial wickets. (Bowlers script 50-run win for India A in tri-nation series final)
"The way we bowled was exceptional, our bowling unit did a really good job. The hunger to be successful as a unit has also helped us through," Pujara said after the remarkable win. (Match - As it happened)
Even as India's bench strength is being tested, yet a lot of players from the India A have already honed their skills at the international level. According to Pujara, that experience helped the team in the one-day series.
"Most of the players have played for their country so we had a lot of experience to lean on. It was good to see the way that the whole team contributed to the win," Pujara commented.
India won the toss and naturally opted to bat first. The Australians bowled extremely well on the dry and flat wicket. They kept their deliveries tight and restricted India to 243 with four balls left to play in the innings.
Australia's batting reply was not upto the mark with wicketkeeper batsman Tim Paine (47) and Josh Hazlewood (30) top-scoring on the day. They hung in for a 50 partnership for the eighth wicket but it was too late to save the innings. Australia were bowled out for 193.
Skipper Aaron Finch, who along with Hazlewood has been included in Australia's ODI/T20 squad for England, was quick to express his disappointment.
"There aren't any excuses," he said. "We bowled extremely well to keep them to 243 on such a good batting wicket but we started off poorly with the bat. I probably led us to that downfall and it was a disappointing way to end such a good tournament," Finch said.
Finch though also looked at the positives of the tour, especially for the fringe players who were trying to impress the selectors.
"I thought we played some really good cricket throughout especially coming out of our off-season. There have been some really good individual performances and that's what we aimed for when we arrived here. There are some guys who came in wanting to show selectors that they deserve a place in the national team and a few of them have given them something to think about," Finch concluded.
India A, who now turn their attention towards their four-day Test series against South Africa A, will be confident of producing the goods once again. Pujara said: "We are prepared, we have played in South African conditions and are aware of the conditions in Rustenburg. We came here knowing we also have a four-day Test series to play and I am confident we will do our best."