KOLKATA: Sri Lanka head coach Nic Pothas feels Cheteshwar Pujara's county experience has helped him to tackle the English-like conditions here as he waged a lone battle in India's 74/5 against Sri Lanka in a rain-interrupted first cricket Test.
Pujara stood tall in a defiant 47 off 102 balls even as Sri Lanka pacers made full use of the overcast conditions to run through the Indian batting line-up.
"He's obviously a world class player. That innings shows his experience of playing county cricket (for Nottinghamshire). This kind of wickets and conditions you genuinely find in England. He certainly played the conditions very well," Pothas said at the press conference after the second day's play.
"Of course we attribute the position to seam bowling conditions, that's fact of the matter. Pujara has batted outstandingly well in these conditions." Rain continued to affect the opening Test as only 32.5 overs could be bowled in the first two days with Sri Lanka stealing the show.
But the head coach said they still have a long way to go as they are chasing a first ever Test win on the Indian soil.
"The game is not very old and there's a long way to go at the moment. We are pretty happy with where we are. We are certainly not getting too comfortable. It's a high quality Indian team.
"We can't control the conditions. We have to play to the best of our ability." The Lankans have an inexperienced batting lineup who will be tested by the Indian bowlers aided by the conditions.
"So far we are pretty pleased at how we have gone about things. It's very very challenging batting conditions but you have to get out there and do your job," said Pothas.
Suranga Lakmal was the pick of their bowler with figures of 11-9-5-3 and the coach said: "He's a very very intelligent bowler. He does a lot of research and knows how to control his workload. He is very astute at knowing when he is prepared, that's the hallmark of an International bowler.
"He has improved immeasurably. At this level, you have to look to improve because the opposition is always improving on you. If you're standing still, you are going backwards."