New Delhi: Cheteshwar Pujara on Wednesday sought to play down the ineffectiveness of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the third Test against Sri Lanka, saying the fifth day Feroz Shah Kotla strip did not even have the bare minimum assistance for spinners.
The top-order batsman said the Kotla was a far cry from any other fifth day wickets in the subcontinent.
The spinners managed only two Sri Lankan wickets on the fifth day of the third Test, with Ashwin (1/126 in 35 overs) and Jadeja (3/81 in 38 overs) bowling 73 out of the 103 overs in the second innings, giving away 207 runs.
"If you look at the number of wickets they have taken, it's remarkable. If you look at the entire home season, they have been the most difficult bowlers for any opposition. This is one odd game where there wasn't much assistance from the pitch. In India, overall I think on any other pitch on Day 5, there will be lot more help for spinners," Pujara said.
In a way, the dependable No 3 batsman indicated that the duo needs assistance.
"Obviously, we have played good cricket throughout the season. Our bowlers have done well, even as a team. The batsmen are scoring runs. So there are so many positives. So this is a one-off Test match. We wanted to win but it ended in a draw," he said.
The Indian team, through the past one year, did not need to play much on the fifth day, but Pujara said it was not the reason.
"We were expecting this wicket to deteriorate a bit more especially on Days 4 and 5. May be because of the weather, it was a flat wicket. There was not much help for spinners in the last two days. But our fast bowlers bowled really well.
"Also our spinners, if I look at the wicket, they bowled really well," Pujara said; his defence for his bowlers seeming as impregnable as his batting.
When asked if the team missed out on a fifth specialist bowler, he said the plan was to try out various combinations.
"You need to try out different combinations and we are going overseas. Let's see what happens when we go to South Africa. We will take a call on that when we reach there but here we needed to try out a few things."
Sri Lanka's unheralded youngsters, led by Dhananjaya De Silva, cashed in on the ineffectiveness of the Indian spinners to hold on for for a draw in the third Test.