When Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha resumed play on the morning of Day 4 with their stand on 32, India were in a precarious position. However, it was Pujara who absorbed most of the pressure, defied the Australian attack and went to notch a well-made double century. Courtesy of his double hundred team India is now in the driver’s seat. With more than 10 hours at the crease, Pujara’s marathon innings has been a model of true and pure patience today. At times during his innings he truly was a reminiscence of his mentor Rahul Dravid, as he stood tall like a wall.
India’s Test specialist, Pujara, is someone who can consistently stand up to the demands of Test cricket and can play the long innings. His 200 which came of 523 balls was a testament of this. Considering that the series is still wide open, this double hundred in Ranchi is definitely one of the most important he has played for India in recent times.
Each run flowing out of Pujara’ willow is invaluable for skipper Virat Kohli and team India. His innings which saw him smash 21 fours also required him to consolidate with partner after partner. But it was his application which saw him through. The significance of this double century can also be assessed from the fact that it is also the first three-figure score by a home batsman in a series where they were supposed to dominate.
Pujara now has 11 Test centuries and 14 fifties and this is his fifth Test innings of 300+ balls.
It may be recalled here that Pujara had also scored a fine 92 in the Bengaluru Test, which was crucial in India getting a win.
Meanwhile, Cheteshwar Pujara became the first batsman in Test history to score a century in the maiden Test of four venues (Indore, Rajkot, Vizag and Ranchi). Seven players have done it at three venues but Pujara is the first to do it at four.
Pujara is currently in second place as far as most runs in the 2016/17 season is concerned. Only Virat Kohli (1,252 runs) has scored more than Pujara.
Before the series against Australia, Pujara had said that he had learnt from his mistakes and promised to unleash an improved version of himself. Keeping true to his word Pujara has let the bat do most of the talking.
It may be recalled here that Pujara has had a good time against the Australians. Australia were the team that he debuted against in 2010, scoring a handsome half-century in his second innings itself.
However, his career graph dipped sharply from January 2014 to August 2016, during which he scored just 892 runs at an average of 30.75 and a poor strike rate of 42.39. But since then he has comeback and strong and looked better than ever before.
Interestingly, Pujara became the first batsman in the world to score a double century with the newly introduced pink ball in any form of cricket.
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