When Cheteshwar Pujara made his Test debut for India in 2010, he was anointed as the next Rahul Dravid. Armed with a solid technique and patience similar to Dravid, Pujara was slated to be the next big thing in India’s batting lineup. (India vs Australia, day 4 Ranchi Test updates)
In the current Test against Australia in Ranchi, Pujara displayed the similar qualities which made Dravid legendary. After becoming the first Indian batsman to score a century in the series, Pujara continued to pile on the runs and he scored his third double century. In the quest for quick runs after reaching his milestone, Pujara departed on 202 as Nathan Lyon took the wicket. (India vs Australia, day 4 Ranchi Test scorecard)
In the process, Pujara created history as he became only the third Indian batsmen in Test history to score two double hundreds against Australia after VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar. Pujara had smashed 204 in the Hyderabad Test in 2013 and he achieved the feat in Ranchi. Laxman notched up an epic 281 in the Kolkata Test in 2001 while he smashed an unbeaten 200 in the Delhi Test in 2008. On the other hand, Tendulkar smashed 241* in Sydney in 2004 and 214 in Bangalore in 2010.
The batsman with the most number of double tons in Tests versus Australia is Wally Hammond of England with four. Hammond smashed 251 and 200 in the 1928 series and he registered scores of 231* in Sydney in 1936 and 240 at Lord’s in 1938. West Indies’ Brian Lara is second on the list with three double centuries. He smashed 277, 226 and 213 during his career. Two of those double tons came in Australia in Sydney 1993 and Adelaide 2005 while one came in 1999 in Jamaica.
Pujara piles on the agony for Australia
However, Pujara’s knock was notable for the way in which he grinded the opposition bowlers down.
Along the way, Pujara consumed 525 balls for his knock. This effort has put him in the elite company as he has played the longest innings by an Indian batsman in Test history with regards to balls faced. The previous mark was held by Dravid who took 495 balls to smash 270 in the Rawalpindi Test against Pakistan in 2004. Before Dravid, it was Navjot Singh Sidhu’s marathon effort of 201 off 491 balls in Port-of-Spain against West Indies in 1997 which was the record.
The right-hander also shared a magnificent 199-run stand with Wriddhiman Saha, who also smashed his third century. The stand is the highest seventh-wicket partnership for India in Tests versus Australia, beating the previous record of 132 set by Hemu Adhikari and Vijay Hazare in 1948 in Adelaide.
The efforts of Pujara and Saha have ensured India have a great chance of taking an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the four-Test series.