Cheteshwar Pujara on Friday said more than his and Rohit Sharma's centuries, it was Sachin Tendulkar's dazzling array of strokes in his farewell knock of 74 that stood out, considering the pressure under which he scored those runs.
"I would say that Sachin's knock was the best of three innings. You have to understand the situation where he was playing his last game in Mumbai. There was a lot of pressure of expectations on him and it was difficult to concentrate out there in the middle with the crowd making such a noise. It wasn't easy to stay calm in such a situation," Pujara (113), who put on a 148-run stand with Tendulkar said at the post-match press conference. (Also read: To Sachin Sir with love, from Pujara and Rohit)
Pujara said it was an "amazing feeling" to be batting along side Tendulkar in what could be his last innings in international cricket. (Day 2 report)
"It was amazing to score those runs in such a situation. When I made my half-century on Test debut, he (Tendulkar) was at the other end, so it was an amazing feeling today (to be his last batting partner in international cricket)."
Asked to elaborate on Tendulkar's technical inputs, Pujara said, "I was not batting well at the nets and generally struggling to play the outswingers. Tendulkar watched my batting and said that my right shoulder was opening up a bit. He advised me to get a bit side-on and have a little bigger stride to counter the swing. (Day 2 highlights)
"I tried working on his tips after my regular net session and it helped. In fact, not only me, in my 15 Tests for India, I have seen how all the youngsters have benefitted from Sachin paaji's advice."
Saurashtra middle-order batsman said Tendulkar prepared in the same manner for this match as he had been preparing himself all these years. (Related: Sachin is Time magazine's 'Person of the Moment)
"It seemed as if he was more prepared for these two Test matches. It was a learning experience for me as he would tell me to focus whenever I would lose concentration. Yesterday, in fact he faced the first ball even before I faced a delivery. Today I had a fair idea about the track having been not out on 34 overnight," Pujara said.
Pujara was also effusive in his praise for Rohit, who hit a brilliant 111 while batting with the tail-enders.
"Rohit's innings reminded me of how V V S Laxman used to bat with the tail-enders and guide them. It was amazing to see him score a century. I think when the last man came in, Rohit was 50 or 60 batting (46 was the score) but he did play brilliantly," Pujara said.
Speaking about his personal form, Pujara said he was happy with the way he was batting.
"I am happy with the way I have been batting. I have no problems with my knee. I could feel the difference how it was in the pre-surgery days and how it is post-surgery," he said.