India’s Cheteshwar Pujara said on Thursday that ‘shutting out the noise’ through yoga and meditation was his secret to having made it to his milestone 100th Test.

The 35-year-old will be the 13th Indian cricketer to play a century of Tests when he takes to the field against Australia in New Delhi.

India registered a crushing win against Australia in the series opener at Nagpur by an innings inside three days, although Pujara made only seven runs before falling to off-spin debutant Todd Murphy.

However, the batter has enjoyed remarkable longevity since his 2010 debut against Australia at home, averaging over 44 and making 19 centuries.

“When I made my debut I never thought about playing 100 Test matches and it’s always about the present,” Pujara said in the pre-match press conference in Delhi.

“Hundred Tests is something that happens in a journey and something you can’t predict, but once you continue playing good cricket, it happens.”

“Ashwin (Ravichandran) recently spoke about me being stubborn. But for me it is sticking to your method and having the discipline to do well in test cricket. I do yoga, meditation, work on my fitness, detach yourself from what is being spoken about you on social media TV, even if it is positive things, so I try and do all that,” he said.

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“Patience does not come on its own, need mental strength for that, preparation is key, I scored runs at junior cricket, age group cricket. It requires hard work over a period of time and when you focus on your game, eventually, you will succeed.”

Pujara is a rare five-day specialist in the age of T20 and white-ball performers, opting out of the lucrative Indian Premier League auctions last year to play the English County Championship. Pujara attributed his staying power to discipline, especially because his single-format strengths leave long interludes between matches.

Reflecting on the same, he said, “I have certain routines, fitness, little bit of meditation, yoga and pranayama (a breathing technique) because it is necessary to shut the outside noise, even it if is positive.

“We play nine Tests on an average and when you go back home, unless you have domestic cricket, you are not in touch with the game. Keep challenging yourself, keep training, looking forward.”

He added: “(It was a) conscious decision to not have my name in IPL last year, I wanted to play county to prepare for the one-off test in England.”

‘Not someone who talks back’

Pujara also has the chance to become just the fourth Indian batter to score 2,000 runs in Tests against Australia. Just 100 more runs will make him the only other active Indian batter other than Virat Kohli to accomplish the milestone.

Despite only five ODI appearances and a stop-start Test career, Pujara said that he had been able to finesse his style in his 13-year-long career.

“I can’t change my game but obviously you can fine-tune and add things,” he said.

“I have added a few shots to my game in the last couple of years and continuing to grow as a cricketer.”

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Pujara picked out England’s Jimmy Anderson and Australia skipper Pat Cummins as among the best bowlers he has faced. Further, he rated Australia, England and New Zealand as “tough oppositions” and praised the Australians for their “good fighting spirit”.

“They would always challenge you as opponents, I had never had easy runs versus Australia,” Pujara said.

He added: “Always had to work hard for those runs and always banter and chat going on, sometimes it motivates me as I am not someone who talks back. I let the bat do the talking.”

With inputs from AFP