Cheteshwar Pujara was the difference between a complete batting collapse and India putting up a respectable total in the first innings of the 1st Test against Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. He showed his class in testing conditions to notch up his 16th half-century. The right-hander’s gritty 52 helped India reach 172 all out and though it might not have been the most imposing of totals but it was still a fighting score on a pitch conducive for fast bowling. In the second innings, the right-hander failed to get a big score but managed to do something that few cricketers in the world can claim to do.
Know what he has done ?
Pujara has become the third ever Indian batsman and ninth overall to bat on all five days of a Test. Pujara came in to bat after the KL Rahul was dismissed off the first delivery of the match on Day 1 and under testing conditions, with rain and bad light playing spoilsport, top-scored for India with 52 off 117 – a knock stretched across three days.The 29-year-old became only the third Indian cricketer, after head coach Ravi Shastri and ML Jaisimha, to have batted on all five days of a Test match.
On Day 1, Pujara came out to bat on the second ball of the match after KL Rahul was dismissed for a golden duck. He managed to score eight off 32 balls before rain brought an early end to the day’s play.
On Day 2, rain again played spoilsport with Pujara scoring 39 off 70 balls to remain unbeaten on 47 at stumps.
Pujara was dismissed for 52 on the third day, meaning that he added just five runs on the day. With Sri Lanka being bowled out for 294 just a little after lunch on Day 4, the Indians got to bat again.
It seemed that KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan would take India to end of the day without any damage but the latter fell six short of his hundred and that brought Pujara to the crease.
Pujara faced nine balls and scored two runs before bad light stopped play. The stylish right-hander was dismissed by a brilliant Suranga Lakmal delivery on 22, meaning he scored 20 on the final day of the Test.
Pujara is the ninth batsman overall in the world to accomplish this rare feat, which was last achieved in 2012 by South African Alviro Peterson. India and England now have the highest number of cricketers to have achieved this feat. England’s trio are Geoffrey Boycott (1977), Allan Lamb (1984) and Andrew Flintoff (2006).