Cheteshwar Pujara slammed his 15th career Test century and first in England on day two of the fourth Test at Rose Bowl, Southampton on Friday. It was a timely hundred by the Indian middle-order batsmen to help India recover from a horrifying batting collapse and eclipse England’s first innings score of 246. India were some 50 runs away when they lost the eighth wicket and a handy lead looked likely for England. But a determined Pujara marshaled the tail and anchored the innings to help the visitors take a vital lead. It was also Pujara’s fifth century away from home and second outside Asia.
But what stood out in his knock was the intent from the start. Be it in running or shot making, Pujara kept his game up through the day. The right-hander from Saurashtra was also involved in several important partnerships during the Indian innings- 92 with skipper Virat Kohli and a crucial 29 with Ishant Sharma to ensure India stay in the game.
Throughout his stay at the crease on the second day, Pujara played just nine percent false shots which is the lowest for all 50+ scores in this series apart from Rahane’s 81 (131) at Trent Bridge. His splendid innings was laced with 16 fours and could not have come at a better time. Pujara remained unbeaten on 132 as India were bowled out for 270 in the first innings.
Incidentally, his 132 was also his fifth Test ton against England. Only three India batsmen have got more- Rahul Dravid (7), Sachin Tendulkar (7), Mohammad Azharuddin (6).