5 Defiant Cheteshwar Pujara Innings
Cheteshwar Pujara is India’s best Test batsman at the moment, without any doubt. The way he is churning up runs consistently shows his hunger and determination to succeed in the more demanding version of the game.
Pujara is not someone who can intimidate the opposition with his aggression. He is not someone who can bash the bowlers according to his own sweet will. However, he is a defiant, determined and gritty customer who tires up the opposition mentally.
We have witnessed him producing some of the best defiant and match-defining knocks of all time since his debut in 2010. He has quickly, in my opinion, filled the boots of Rahul Dravid - ‘The Wall' of Indian cricket.
Pujara now has 3966 Test runs to his name at an average of 52.18. That record also includes a total of 12 hundreds and 15 fifties.
Come 3rd August 2017, Pujara will complete his first major milestone as he will be playing his 50th Test match for India. Let us now have a look at five of those defiant innings from Cheteshwar Pujara that occupy a special place in our hearts.
#1) 135 | 2nd Test, England tour of India at Mumbai, Nov 23-Nov 26
It was the second Test of the four match series and India were already in the driving seat after winning the first Test.
However, England were determined to turn things around at Mumbai. They produced a superb bowling display and reduced the Indian batting lineup to 169/6 in the first innings. But, there was one man holding the fort at one end searching for an able partner. He was none other than Cheteshwar Pujara.
He had already stitched partnerships of 48 runs with Virender Sehwag, 58 runs with Virat Kohli and 50 runs with MS Dhoni. However, he needed someone who would walk the long road with him.
In walked Ravichandran Ashwin and he provided the support that Pujara needed at the other end. Pujara kept grinding the bowling and continued to frustrate the English bowlers.
Ashwin at the other end was scoring runs at a brisk rate. With his help, Pujara made his way to a fabulous inning of 135 runs off 350 deliveries. His stay at the crease amounted to 451 minutes and India were bowled out soon after his dismissal for 327 runs.
England replied strongly with a total of 413 runs. India, under pressure, were bowled out for a paltry 142 runs in the second innings. England went on to chase down the target of 57 runs with all 10 wickets remaining. Although India went on to lose the match, Pujara’s knock of 135 will always be remembered as one of his best innings.