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England faced with Pujara poser

Posted in England in India 2012-13

Cheteshwar Pujara

India's Cheteshwar Pujara considers just how much damage he could do using two bats rather than one

How do you solve a problem like Cheteshwar Pujara?

That is arguably the most pressing question facing England after India's number three delivered another object lesson in sub-contintental batting at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium.

Pujara offered up a solitary chance - he was dropped at second slip on 60 - in progressing to 114 not out today. Remarkably, he has thus far contributed 361 runs in this series without being dismissed.

Comparisons with the legendary Rahul Dravid, though inevitable, may be somewhat unfair on a batsman still in the early stages of his Test career.

Yet should Pujara continue to operate with such composure and skill, he will surely be showered with further praise, and rightly so.

With the notable exception of Graeme Swann, Alastair Cook's attack were below their best during the series-opener at Ahmedabad, where Pujara registered unbeaten scores of 206 and 41.

This morning, however, the 24-year-old arrived at the crease in the opening over following James Anderson's removal of Gautam Gambhir and had to withstand a stiff examination led by Monty Panesar.

England's left-arm spinner bowled beautifully on his return to the international arena and produced a moment of magic to shift India's greatest star, Sachin Tendulkar, en route to figures of 4-91.

The subsequent exits of Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh left the hosts, who won the toss, on the rack at 119 for five.

In trying circumstances, Pujara remained calm and rarely looked in trouble - aside from his one aforementioned let-off, which denied Panesar another scalp. England thought they had their man on 94, but replays showed the ball had struck the ground before deflecting up off Cook's boot at short-leg for a catch.

There is much to admire in a player who clearly boasts technical and mental strength in abundance.

Confident on the drive, strong off his pads and rock-solid in defence, Pujara also benefits from an even temperament. If the maiden double-hundred at Ahmedabad was impressive, today's innings arguably provided greater evidence of his ability.

The new 'Wall' has yet to be knocked over, but there is still plenty of time for England to find a way.

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