India were reeling at 5 for 3 and then were reduced to 38 for 4 when Hanuma Vihari joined Cheteshwar Pujara out in the middle. The pitch was a green one and the seamers were getting prodigious bounce and movement and this forced both Vihari and Pujara to shut shop and weather the initial storm. The duo added a century stand for the fifth wicket and fought back brilliantly as the pitch evened out against the older ball. This performance could well enthuse the management to bump Vihari up the order as an opener as Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill and Mayank Agarwal all failed against the seam and bounce up front.
“As a player, I am prepared to bat anywhere. As of now, I’ve not been informed anything. As I said before as well, if the team requires me to bat wherever, I am ready to bat,” said Vihari, who retired after scoring 101.
He has been part of the Indian side for over a year now but has not found a place in the playing XI, especially when the side plays in home conditions.
“Sometimes you have to understand the team combination as well. You can’t get disheartened by it. I understood when you are playing at home, we play five bowlers. It’s obvious that one batter has to miss out. So I took it in my stride. I don’t want to prove anything to anyone but just follow the process,” Vihari said.
He added 195 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara (93) after none of the other batsmen crossed the 20-run mark. After the knock, he confessed that the pitch had extra bounce, but the pitch eased out as the day progressed.
“Initially, I thought the extra bounce surprised us. (In) the couple of matches I played against New Zealand A, the pitch didn’t do as much as what it did in the morning today. Once we adjusted, me and Puji (Pujara’s nickname), we got our eye in, then we knew we had to bat long and that’s exactly what we did,” the right-hander said.
“Maybe we will get pitches like these because New Zealand’s strength is their fast bowling. They have a very experienced bowling attack but it’s good that we got some time in the middle and we experienced these conditions.
“They were tough and it’s good to experience tough conditions before the series and we’re happy with the way the day went,” he said.