Ranchi: Wriddhiman Saha rated his 117-run knock against Australia as his "best" Test knock so far and said the support he is getting from his teammates has had a positive influence on his batting.
Saha played a key role along with Cheteshwar Pujara (202) to hand India a first innings lead of 152.
"This is the best among the three I have. We badly needed partnership. My partnership began slowly. One of the best," Saha said at the press conference.
"Pujara always backed me to play my shots. Told me to be positive. I had the same approach here. I played in positive sense, so it came out well.
Wicket-keeper batsman added. He told me to break it up and think of small, small partnerships of 10-20 runs each. I just backed my strength and showed respect to good balls."
Saha further said the support he got from his teammates, has given him a lot of confidence. "I didn't really change the way I batted. I'm backing myself more now. When I'm playing sweep shots or stepping out, I used to have doubts early in my career. Now the team is supporting me. It's have a good effect on me."
Saha said his 316-run unconquered stand with Pujara in the Irani Trophy final inspired the two of them to bat well. They had rattled up that stand in the second innings, which eventually shaped Rest Of India's six-wicket win for over Gujarat.
"The way Pujara was batting it never seemed we would lose a wicket. We did well in Irani Trophy. It was playing in our mind. We knew that we could do well if we back ourselves. We just tried to do that and looked for loose balls and run well between wickets," Saha said.
"Puji has so much patience. He scores 200-300 in domestic cricket almost routinely. He is always on the top of his game. He showed great patience here. He was losing partner at the other end, and we were not getting really big partnerships. He curtailed his shots, trying to build big partnerships."
Pujara was attacked with a slurry of bouncers by the Aussie pace duo of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood and the latter had some exchange in the middle with Saha.
The Indian wicketkeeper said he told Hazlewood to 'go back and bowl'.
"Little banter always goes on. Pujara was telling him 'look at the scoreboard'. He was on 180-odd then. They said something to me as I just said 'go back and bowl'. Nothing more than that," Saha said.
India (603/9d) have recorded their sixth total of 600-plus vs Australia in Tests. Their top score being 705 for seven wickets declared at Sydney in January 2004.
Wriddhiman Saha (117) has posted his highest Test score - his first century vs Australia is his third in Tests.
Saha has scored a hundred each in three different batting positions - as number 6, 7 and 8.
Saha's tally of three hundreds is the second highest by an Indian wicketkeeper next only to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's six.
Saha is the fourth Indian wicketkeeper to hit a century vs Australia in Tests. Mahendra Singh Dhoni had scored 224 at Chennai in February 2013; Nayan Mongia 152 at Delhi in October 1996; Syed Kirmani 101 not out at Mumbai in November 1979.
Pujara and Saha were involved in a stand of 199 - an Indian partnership record for the seventh-wicket vs Australia in Tests, eclipsing the 132 by Hemu Adhikari and Vijay Hazare at Adelaide in 1947-48.
Pujara has become the eleventh Indian batsman to complete 1,000 runs or more vs Australia in Tests - his aggregate being 1044 (ave.58.00) in 20 innings (11 Tests).
Pujara has taken 521 balls to reach his double century - the slowest double century by an Indian batsman, outstripping the 488 balls taken by Navjot Singh Sidhu (201 off 491 balls) vs West Indies at Port of Spain in March 1997.