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Happy birthday Cheteshwar Pujara: Star batter’s top five knocks in Test cricket as he turns 35 – Firstcricket News, Firstpost

Cheteshwar Pujara certainly deserves a place in the league of the world’s finest batters in Test cricket. Whenever he has appeared on the field donning the whites, his tremendous patience and never-give-up attitude turned out to be the major challenge for the opposition bowlers.

Filling the shoes of legendary cricketers like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, Pujara made his name in the longest format owing to his commendable performances in the domestic circuit. Since his debut for India in 2010, the Saurashtra batter has faced ups and downs a few times. However, he came back stronger every time, forcing the selectors to doubt their previous calls.

Cheteshwar Pujara has played 98 red-ball matches for India so far. He has amassed a staggering number of 7014 runs at a batting average of 44.39. His illustrious career, spanning more than a decade, is decorated with 3 double centuries, 19 centuries and 34 half-centuries. Pujara rings his 35th birthday on Wednesday, 25 January. On this special day, let’s take a look at his top knocks in the Indian jersey:

202 runs off 525 balls vs Australia (2017):

It was the longest Test innings played by an Indian batter and Pujara deservingly owns the record. The right-handed batter faced as many as 525 deliveries, registering 202 runs in the third Test of the home series against Australia.

Batting first, the visitors posted a mammoth total of 451 runs in the first innings, powered by the centurion innings of Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell. In reply, Pujara’s 202 made India produce 603 on the board. However, the match eventually ended in a draw.

123 runs off 246 balls vs Australia (2018):

In the first Test of India’s tour of Australia, Pujara played an exceptional knock of 123 runs in 246 deliveries, when other Indian batters had easily surrendered in front of lethal Aussie bowling attack. Riding on the back of the innings, India managed to post 250 runs in the first innings.

Coming in to bat, the hosts were also quite troubled while batting on the Adelaide pitch and fell 15 runs short of the first-innings lead. Pujara shone with the bat again in the next innings scoring 71 runs. Australia lost the match by 31 runs and India recorded the first Test win in Australia after a decade.

153 runs off 270 balls vs South Africa (2013):

In this 2013 Test, India required a miraculous performance to maintain their 36-run lead over South Africa on their home ground after a tight first-innings show. Pujara made 153 runs in 270 balls while batting alongside Virat Kohli, who had already reached a century early in the first innings.

The duo steered India to a total of 421 runs. Pujara showed great determination while battling a bowling lineup that included Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Morne Morkel, Jacques Kallis, and Imran Tahir. Ultimately, India were able to draw the match thanks to his heroics.

132 runs off 257 balls vs England (2018):

Batting first, India pulled off a strong start to their first innings of the fourth Test during their tour of Ireland and England. The hosts were restricted to 246, and India went on to lose just two wickets for 142 runs, with Pujara and Kohli putting together a 92-run partnership.

However, England quickly recovered and downed India to 195 for eight. Despite India’s continued loss of wickets, Pujara stuck to the crease and India finished the innings for 273 with the help of the ‘marathon man’. Even though India ultimately lost the game, Pujara’s performance unquestionably struck terror in the hearts of their opponents.

206 runs off 389 balls vs England (2012):

Pujara’s career-best knock of 206 runs came for a winning cause against powerhouse England during a home Test. His marathon 389-ball innings helped India put up 421 runs on the board in the first innings. Unlike other matches, Pujara’s shots cleared the boundary line several times as his innings was laced with as many as 21 fours. England suffered a follow-on in the second innings and India finally bagged the game by 9 wickets.

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