Team India’s No.3 Cheteshwar Pujara once again lived up to his expectations as he scored a fifty in the first innings in the first Test against the Lankans, despite intermittent rains favouring the opponent’s pacers.
The Test specialist batted on all five days of the Test, becoming only the third Indian and ninth overall to bat across five days in red-ball cricket.
The middle-order batsman came in to bat on day one after opener KL Rahul was dismissed in the first ball. He remained unbeaten on eight runs from 32 deliveries on day one. The next day, he added 39 runs to his knock from 70 balls. On Day 3, Pujara added five from 15 balls before being cleaned up by Lahiru Gamage. He faced nine balls on day four scoring two runs and on the fifth day, the Saurashtra batsman added 20 to his overnight total before being sent back by Suranga Lakmal.
Interestingly, Motganhalli Jaisimha and Ravi Shastri, the other two Indians to have batted across five days, had also achieved the feat at Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Jaisimha was the first cricketer in the world to bat on all five days; he achieved the unique feat way back in 1960. England’s Geoff Boycott became the second batsman to achieve the feat in 1977, followed by Australia’s Kim Hughes in 1980, England’s Allan Lamb in 1984, India’s Ravi Shastri in 1984, West Indies’ Adrain Griffith in 1999, England’s Andrew Flintoff in 2006, South Africa’s Alviro Petersen in 2012 and Cheteshwar Pujara in 2017.
The first Test at the Eden Gardens was a thrilling draw. The second Test will be played at in Nagpur from November 24. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shikhar Dhawan have excused themselves from the remainder of the series due to personal reasons.