Cheteshwar Pujara’s dream run in the year 2017 continued on Saturday as the batsman went on to score his 14th Test century in Nagpur against Sri Lanka. He remained unbeaten on 121 on Day 2 of the Test and will resume his innings with skipper Virat Kohli on Day 3.
With his fourth century this year, the middle-order batsman helped the home side in gaining a strong lead of 107 runs. He built a strong partnership of 209 runs with opener Murali Vijay at the start of the day and then later chipped in with the skipper Virat Kohli as the duo added another 96 runs. Vijay went on to score his 10th Test century and the captain also reached his 15th half century.
Adding more feathers to his hat, Pujara also crossed the 1000-run mark in Tests in a calendar year. He is currently the second highest run-scorer of 2017 and has scored 1046* runs in 2017. He is only behind South African opening batsman Dean Elgar who has scored 1097 runs this year. Pujara is likely to surpass Elgar on Day 3 of the Test. Sri Lanka’s Dimuth Karunaratne also reached the landmark during the ongoing Test against India.
Pujara’s century against Sri Lanka is his fourth three-figure knock against the rivals and third of this year. In an away series against the Dinesh Chandimal led side, the batsman scored two tons and a half-century. He has scored 504* runs in 7 innings against Lanka in 2017.
Pujara has now batted on all seven days of the series so far, and will also come on to bat on Sunday. During the first Test in Kolkata, the batsman became the third ever Indian to bat on all five days of a Test, only after ML Jaisimha in 1960 and Ravi Shastri in 1984. Only five other players have managed to do this.
It is Pujara’s fourth Test century of the year in 10 Tests. He has also scored 5 fifties and has an average of 74.71 in 2017. Only Elgar (5) has more centuries than him, while Australia captain Steve Smith has also scored 4 centuries in 8 Tests.
Pujara also scored a double ton against Australia earlier this year. His innings of 202 at Ranchi took him to third double ton of his career. It is the fourth highest Test individual score in the year, only after England’s Alastair Cook’s 243 against West Indies, Shakib Al Hasan’s 217 against New Zealand and Kohli’s 204 against Bangladesh.
Another record currently being held by the batsman this year is that he has faced most number of deliveries (2301) in 2017 in Test cricket. The only two players closest to him are Sri Lanka’s Karunaratne (2212) and Elgar (2162)
But that is just Pujara’s record in international cricket. He has also been in tremendous form in domestic circuit in 2017. Playing for Saurashtra last month, the batsman hit 2 centuries including a double ton against Jharkhand at Rajkot. Pujara’s innings of 204 against Jharkhand in a Group B match took him to his 12th double ton in first-class cricket, making him the record-holder for most double centuries in first-class cricket by an Indian batsman. Earlier, the record was held by Vijay Merchant (11).