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Opener Cheteshwar Pujara set for India return in third Test against Sri Lanka

Cheteshwar Pujara looks set to open for India in their series-deciding third Test against Sri Lanka starting Friday.

Pujara's last Test appearance came in the Boxing Day Test in Australia last year, making 25 and 21 in Melbourne. The 27-year-old averages 47.11 in 27 Tests, but his last century came in December 2013.

Captain Virat Kohli gave a huge indication that Pujara would play in the final Test, while Karun Nair is also likely to come into the side.

"I mean, looking at these conditions, the reason behind getting someone like Karun Nair in is we can make Pujara open," Kohli said.

"He is pretty solid, and with the new ball he has opened in the sub-continent before. I remember a couple of Tests where he has opened for India. That was the whole idea behind it.

"Really delighted to have him [Nair] in the squad. But, the idea behind it was getting Pujara to open along with [Lokesh] Rahul and then that gives us even more batting options to play around with."

 

If we had three to four Tests, then you obviously have to think of a proper opener. I feel Pujara has done the job in the past, and we are very confident he will be able to do the job in the next game.

Rahul (108) and Ajinkya Rahane (126) made centuries in the second Test, which India won by 278 runs to level the series.

It was an emotion-filled farewell for Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara, who retired after the heavy loss. Ravichandran Ashwin (2-76 and 5-42) helped India to their win, and Kohli was full of praise for the off-spinner.

"He's been a champion bowler for us. He's been taking wickets for us everywhere. Even in the tour of Australia, he was more aggressive with the ball," Kohli said.

 

He wants to improve on his cricket and he has certainly done that. Even in his mindset, he's bowling in a more aggressive manner. It's almost impossible to get him away.

"Even for the right-hander, with the ball spinning into you, it should be an easier angle, but he is confusing even those players at the moment. He's bowling beautifully right now and I'm glad to see him with this kind of mindset, attacking the batsmen all the time, bowling attacking lines all the times. Obviously it's an asset to have a spinner of such great quality in the team. And with the attacking mindset, it's an asset any captain would love to have in his team."

Source : All Sports



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