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Cheteshwar Pujara always game for the challenge of scoring big

Cheteshwar Pujara’s conversion rate is another proof of his hunger for runs --- it was the sixth time in 12 hundreds, he has converted a century into a 150-plus score.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Jul 27, 2017 20:32 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Galle
Cheteshwar Pujara,India vs Sri Lanka,India national cricket team
India’s Cheteshwar Pujara (R) celebrates scoring 150 runs with teammate Ajinkya Rahane during Day 2 of the 1st Test vs Sri Lanka at Galle on Thursday.(AFP)

In this team of ‘millionaires’, Cheteshwar Pujara is a safe accumulator. The joy he derives from every run he scores is there for all to see.

The contrast in the batting styles of Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara made for some very interesting viewing. Making a comeback after a long time, Dhawan still batted with typical flamboyance, while Pujara --- despite knowing that runs were there for the taking --- played safe. The reward was handsome: 253 runs.

READ | Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin rattle Sri Lanka in Galle Test.

Cheteshwar Pujara’s conversion rate is another proof of his hunger for runs --- it was the sixth time in 12 hundreds, he has converted a century into a 150-plus score.

“I love my batting, so whenever I get the opportunity to score runs, or do something on the field, I always like the challenge,” the Saurashtra player said after the second day’s play on Thursday.

“I think when you’re playing at the international level, it doesn’t matter whether the wicket is flat or there is some assistance for the bowlers. You always want to score big runs and put up a big total,” added Cheteshwar Pujara.

Cheteshwar Pujara, however, said he derived more satisfaction in conquering challenging pitches. Naturally, he rated his hundred in the final Test of the 2015 series at the Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo, higher than the 153 here.

READ | Nuwan Pradeep lone bright spot for Sri Lanka in Galle cricket Test vs India

“As a batsman, you always want to perform well on challenging pitches. Especially when I got my 145 at SSC. That particular wicket was more challenging than this one. When you score a hundred on such wickets, it is more satisfying than this one. But when you are doing a job for the team, I always enjoy scoring hundreds. When you are playing Test cricket, and if you have an opportunity to score a hundred, you might as well score more than 100. I always enjoy scoring big runs,” said Cheteshwar Pujara.

Having reduced Sri Lanka to 154 for five, India have the game in their grasp, felt Pujara. “I think we have started (well). We have scored enough runs, and we’ve got five wickets today. We are very well poised at this stage…we would just like to stay focused.”

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Unlike his teammates, Pujara doesn’t have a lucrative IPL contract and to stay sharp, he relies on county stints.

“When I have some time between Tests, I prefer to play some county matches. It gives me exposure, playing in different conditions, facing different bowlers. Playing county cricket is always challenging. So as a cricketer, it teaches you a lot.”

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 20:20 IST