Cheteshwar Pujara repaid the faith that the selectors showed in him by hitting a gritty and crucial 2nd innings fifty on Day 3 of the rescheduled 5th Test against England at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Pujara remained unbeaten on 50 and stitched an unbeaten 50-run stand with Rishabh Pant for the 4th-wicket partnership as India finished with a 257-run lead.
Cheteshwar Pujara got to his fifty in 139 balls, bringing back memories of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from 2020-21 as he formed a fine partnership with Rishabh Pant, who curbed his attacking instincts and played the situation, remaining unbeaten on 30 from 46 balls to follow his dashing first-innings 146 (111 balls).
Pujara took blows on the body and handled some uneven bounce in his typical style as he frustrated the England attack with his sturdy batting in the final session on Sunday, June 3.
Notably, Pujara has hit 3 fifty-plus scores in the ongoing 5-match Pataudi Trophy and all of them have come in the 2nd innings for India.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who opened the innings in the rescheduled 5th Test in the absence of Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul, lost his opening partner KL Rahul in the very first over to James Anderson. However, he survived a probing spell with the new ball from Anderson, Stuart Broad and Matty Potts and stitched a 39-run partnership with Hanuma Vihari, who took his No. 3 spot in the XI.
Pujara joined hands with Kohli after Stuart Broad took out Vihari and stitched a 32-run stand but Ben Stokes got former India captain out with an unplayable delivery.
Pujara, however, held his fort, and made sure India did not lose another wicket as they headed to close of play at 125 for 3.
DROPPED AT HOME, DELIVERS OVERSEAS
Pujara was dropped after an ordinary series in South Africa earlier this year along with former vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane. Pujara scored 124 runs in six innings in the Rainbow Nation with an average of 20.66.
The veteran batter was not picked for the home Tests against Sri Lanka in February.
However, Pujara knocked on the selectors’ door once again after scoring heavily for Sussex in the county championships. The Saurashtra batter, who had hit 191 runs in 5 innings in the Ranji Trophy, had hit four 100-plus scores, including two double hundreds, in five county championship division two matches.