India’s star player Cheteshwar Pujara smashed his fastest Test century in 130 deliveries during the third day of the first Test match of India’s tour of Bangladesh at Chhattogram. Pujara, India’s vice-captain, put an end to his 1443-day century drought in international cricket on that day by scoring his 19th Test century.
Pujari reached the three-figure mark during the second innings of the 1st Test match on Friday. India declared the innings immediately after Pujara’s century, setting the target of 513 runs to Bangladesh.
While being dropped from the side in February for the home series against Sri Lanka, Pujara had a rough year in international cricket. However, the right-handed batter tried hard in the county championship in England by giving consistent performances and came back for the national team.
Pujari last scored his Test century in January 2019 against Australia in Sydney. In his 97-match career, this was his fastest Test century.
Coming into bat at No.3 in the 23rd over, Pujara compiled a 113-run second-wicket partnership with Sybhman Gill (110). After Gill’s dismissal in the 50th over, Pujara stayed unbeaten (73 ball 75 runs) to play alongside former captain Virat Kohli.
In the second half of his innings, Pujara took the responsibility of quickly scoring runs upon himself and was observed defying his own image by playing a number of attacking shots. Pujara stunned everyone with his intent, dashing down the track to spinners to hit them aerially, using the ground to cut and pull short deliveries, and hitting the sweep shot to perfection.
Pujara scored an important 90 runs in the first innings as well when India had lost the 3 opening wickets inside the first 20 overs. With Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, Pujara stabilized the Indian innings after a shaky start.
The reaction of the former captain and the non-striker Virat Kohli during the century of Pujara was a treat to the eyes of the audience. Kohli had a big smile on his face seeing Pujara raise his bat after completing his hundred. Kohli then hugged the centurion, congratulating him on the milestone. Kohli himself had to wait for 3 long years to score his 71st international century and he can understand well how difficult it was for Pujara to wait for nearly 4 years to score a ton for the country.
Earlier in the game, the 23-year-old Shubhman Gill also smashed his maiden test century scoring a ferocious 110 off 152 deliveries. He had hit 10 fours and 3 sixes enroute to his century before being dismissed by mehidy Hasan.
“I personally thought it (his maiden Test century) was long time coming for me. Today it was all about getting the difficult situation out of the way. There weren’t any different thoughts. For me, it was about how to play according to the field and then be able to score runs. It was very instinctive (to hit a couple of boundaries and get to the milestone). When the bowler came round the wicket, there was gap between third man and point”, Gill reacted to the broadcaster.
“I hadn’t played it the whole innings. And once the field came in, I went over the fielders. When lunch happened, I was batting around 13. When I’d faced 100 balls, I was 70-odd, it’s about pacing the innings. You got to know when to attack as a batter. Means a lot to me, my family and my friends who have supported me. Special moment for any player – getting the maiden century here means a lot to me,” Gill said.
India set a target of 513 runs for Bangladesh to chase after the second innings. With two days remaining in the match, Bangladesh has to improve their performance from the previous innings as Mushfiqur Rahim’s 28 runs were the highest score from the side.