After Rahul Dravid’s retirement from Test Cricket, one question that haunted Team India was who could replace the ‘wall’ and ‘Mr. Dependable’ Dravid. Fortunately, India didn’t have to wait too long as they found Cheteswar Pujara as the best replacement to Dravid at No. 3 in tests.
Cheteshwar Pujara who slammed his career’s 17th Test hundred and second in the series joined the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane with his brilliant hundred in the Boxing Day test.
En route to his hundred in the Boxing Day Test, Pujara swept away quite a few records and one of the significant records was that he became just the fifth Indian to score a century in a Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar (116 in 1999-2000 series), Virender Sehwag (195 in 2003-04 series), Virat Kohli (169 in 2014-15 series) and Ajinkya Rahane (147 in 2014-15 series) have scored in the Boxing Day test at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Pujara took 280 balls to reach the three-digit figure and that turned out to be the slowest of all his 17 Test hundreds.
His gritty knock of 106 off 319 balls was brought to an end by Australia’s best bowler of the match, so far, Pat Cummins who bowled a vicious low bouncer. Pujara had no answer to that as he tried to defend it, the ball went past his bat and rattled the stumps.
As Pujara walked off the MCG field, he walked with another record to his name. These numbers would certainly frustrate the bowlers who have bowled to him in the last two years.
Since January 2017, Pujara has been the only batsman to have faced over 4000 balls in Test cricket. He has so far faced 4633 balls in 40 innings, that is facing an average of 116 balls per innings. The next best batsman has been another Indian, Kohli, who has played 3796 balls in 39 innings and he had faced an average of 97 balls per innings.
At stumps of Day two on Thursday, Australia were 8 for no loss and trailed India by 435 runs. Earlier, Indians declared their first innings at 443 for 7 in 169.4 overs. Rohit Sharma remained unbeaten on 63.