<
>

I will open the batting - Cheteshwar Pujara

Cheteshwar Pujara's dismissal left India 8 for 4 Getty Images

India A captain Cheteshwar Pujara has said that KL Rahul, Umesh Yadav and Amit Mishra will be rested for the second unofficial Test against Australia A in Chennai, starting Wednesday. Pujara also confirmed his promotion to the opening spot and the addition of Haryana offspinner Jayant Yadav as cover.

"KL Rahul is not here, he will get rest for tomorrow's game. They [Umesh and Mishra] are also being rested for tomorrow's game. Jayant Yadav has come in. I will be opening," Pujara said.

However, he was coy about the composition of the XI though a fit-again Varun Aaron is likely to replace Umesh while Virat Kohli is likely to come in for Rahul. The second spinner's spot behind Pragyan Ohja will see a three-way tussle between Shreyas Gopal, B Aparajith and Jayant.

"As usual I don't like to say the playing XI before the day but obviously they are fit and they are ready to go for the game starting tomorrow." Describing the first-Test pitch as a "difficult" one for both seamers as well as batsmen, Pujara hoped for more help from the surface for the second game.

"Obviously, see the wicket was slow. It was difficult for the fast bowlers as well as for the batsmen because the ball wasn't coming onto the bat. Hopefully, it's a better wicket, where there is little more carry and bounce," he said.

Pujara has moved into double-figures 16 times in his last 20 Test innings but hasn't scored a century since December 2013. After being left out for the solitary Test in Bangladesh, Pujara had solid starts in the first unofficial Test, making 55 and 42, but couldn't push on.

Pujara, though, was quick to downplay all concerns about his conversion rate. "I think things are shaping up well. I have scored runs on a difficult wicket," he said. "To be honest, not many big scores were there on this wicket. So even scoring a fifty was obviously helpful for the team.

"Even in the second innings what I scored was definitely helpful for the team. So when you play on a difficult wicket, you don't expect to score 200s and 300s. So, ultimately you need to contribute to the team's success and you need to score as many runs as possible. I felt I was timing the ball well and the things which I have worked on were coming along. The weather was difficult, even if you are batting you sweat a lot, you have to run in between the wickets. Hopefully, the way I am batting, I think I would get a good score in the next game."