Pujara purrs over double-ton
Cheteshwar Pujara’s maiden Test double-century meant twice as much to him given he came close to that milestone less than three months ago.
The 24-year-old’s first international hundred - versus New Zealand at Hyderabad in August - was also a substantial one but ended on 159 when he miscued a catch to mid-on.
During the 389 balls he faced in this innings, the right-hander barely put a foot wrong en route to an unbeaten 206 as India declared on 521 for eight at Ahmedabad.
England then lost three wickets, including nightwatchman James Anderson, to spin and closed day two on a precarious 41 for three.
“Last time I missed [it] against New Zealand and I wanted to score a double-hundred. This was the perfect conditions for me and we needed a big total on the board so I hung around and played an proper role,” Pujara, who was pleased to be not out, told Sky Sports.
“I never like to get out. There’s always a price on my wicket - even when I’ve scored a double-hundred I never want to give it away.”
Pujara’s application on a wicket that offered more turn this afternoon, and his fitness to bat long in strong heat were outstanding.
“I was reading the gameplan and I knew what areas they were looking to bowl on. So I think the reason for success was to read the gameplan better than other players,” he said.
“It was quite slow and it started turning after lunch. I had to hang around. I wasn’t getting my shots because the wicket was too slow and even my body was a little tired. I had to run a lot. I was sweating. I think my fitness is good so I could carry on and play that sort of innings.”
This is only Pujara’s sixth Test and first at the Sardar Patel Stadium, yet it was hard to tell.
“I haven’t played many matches over here but I have enough experience to know the conditions. I’ve played a couple of domestic games here so I know the conditions,” he added.
The youngster, who is unlikely to bowl, is now focusing on 17 more wickets in search of victory in the first Test of four.
Asked if the game will go five days, he replied: “We dont want [it] to, honestly, but you never know. Our target is to get first seven more wickets and then the rest of the 10 wickets.”