Cheteshwar Pujara on Thursday scored his 17th Test century. Pujara reached the milestone on the second day of the third Test between India and Australia and this was his second century of the series. In what was a typically gritty knock, Pujara reached the three-figure mark in 280 balls.
He came into the middle during the first session of the opening day of the Boxing Day Test and built partnerships with debutant Mayank Agarwal and skipper Virat Kohli.
It was only the 19th over of the match when Pat Cummins dismissed Vihari and Pujara walked in. More than 120 overs later, he was still in the middle and his partnership with Kohli was on 148 when he crossed over into three figures.
This was his slowest century and also the third slowest ton by an Indian in Australia, behind Sunil Gavaskar (286 balls, Adelaide 1985) and current India coach Ravi Shastri (307 balls, SCG 1992). Pujara is also the fifth Indian batsman to score a century in the Boxing Day Test.
He first shared a partnership of 83 runs with Agarwal. The latter looked primed for a maiden Test century on a track that provided very little assistance to the bowlers for much of Day 1.
Agarwal, like Vihari, fell to a short delivery from Cummins and that meant that Pujara had Kohli on the other side when the teams returned for the third session on the first day. While Kohli scored at almost a-run-a-ball in the initial part of his innings, Pujara remained in his own bubble and held up the other end. The pair survived the day and kept blocking away the Australians into Lunch on Day 2 by which time their partnership was worth 154 runs.