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The Best of Cheteshwar Pujara - From a Resolute 153 at Johannesburg to Gritty 56 at Brisbane

Cheteshwar Pujara is amongst the greatest batsmen in India's Test cricket history. A classic old-school Test batsman, his ability to bat out time and overs and score the big hundreds are his finest attributes in the prime format of the game. He scores tough runs in difficult conditions and situations for India and with his cool and calm temperament and dogged defiance and resilience provides stability and solidity to the Indian batting line-up.

The Best of Cheteshwar Pujara - From a Resolute 153 at Johannesburg to Gritty 56 at Brisbane

Cheteshwar Pujara is amongst the greatest batsmen in India's Test cricket history. A classic old-school Test batsman, his ability to bat out time and overs and score the big hundreds are his finest attributes in the prime format of the game. He scores tough runs in difficult conditions and situations for India and with his cool and calm temperament and dogged defiance and resilience provides stability and solidity to the Indian batting line-up.

As he turns 33 today, we look at 10 of his greatest batting performances in Test cricket.

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1. 206 not out vs England, Ahmedabad, 2012

Cheteshwar Pujara's highest Test score came against England in the series opener in Ahmedabad in 2012. He top-scored for India in the first innings forging a 90-run stand for the second wicket with Virender Sehwag and a century partnership for the fifth wicket with Yuvraj Singh. India amassed more than 500, enforced the follow-on on the visitors and went on to register a comprehensive win by 9 wickets.

2. 204 vs Australia, Hyderabad, 2013

After losing the wicket of the great Virender Sehwag early in the innings, Cheteshwar Pujara stitched a 370-run partnership with Murali Vijay and batted Australia out of the match. He was finally out with the team score at 393 scoring more than half of India's runs at the time of dismissal. India scored in excess of 500 and gained a massive first innings lead. Australia were routed for 131 in the second innings handing the hosts victory by an innings and 135 runs.

3. 193 vs Australia, Sydney, 2019

This is Pujara's highest score outside India and he could not have chosen a more opportune moment. India were 2-1 up in the four-match series with the fourth and final Test slated for the SCG. Batting first, Pujara batted for 373 deliveries breaking the backbone of the Australian attack with a fine 193. He stitched hundred partnerships for the second and fifth wickets with Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari as India put up a colossal 622 for the loss of seven wickets. In effect, India had ensured that they could not lose the match which ultimately ended in a draw and gave India a historic first series win Down Under.

4. 153 vs South Africa, Johannesburg, 2013

This was a rare second innings hundred from Pujara. The match was in the balance after the first innings of both the teams. Pujara came in early in the second and resurrected the innings with Murali Vijay before combining with Virat Kohli and putting together a 200-plus partnership. India scored 421 setting South Africa 458. The home team made a match of it and almost pulled off a great win falling just short at 450 for 7.

5. 145 not out vs Sri Lanka, Colombo (SSC), 2015

In the series decider at the SSC in Colombo in 2015, Pujara, playing as an opener, continued to hold fort at one end even as wickets continued to tumble at the other. He kept the innings together and yet scored a fair clip recording a magnificent unbeaten 145 off 289 deliveries when the other Indian batting line-up had failed. India posted 312 courtesy Pujara's hundred who carried his bat through the innings. India went on to win the Test by 117 runs and with it took the series 2-1.

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6. 123 & 71 vs Australia, Adelaide, 2018

Pujara produced one of the best overseas hundreds by an Asian batsmen in Australia in the series opener in 2018 at the Adelaide Oval. Batting first, India had lost half their side before they could put a hundred on the board but Pujara kept the fight going from one end and scored a defiant 123 off 246 deliveries almost scoring half of India's total of 250. Pujara again top-scored for India with 71 in the second innings which proved crucial in the final analysis as the visitors registered a narrow 31-run victory in Adelaide.

7. 119 vs England, Visakhapatnam, 2016

Pujara came out to bat in the second over and lost Vijay soon after before putting together a match-changing partnership with skipper, Virat Kohli. He was finally dismissed for 119 - a courageous knock against a bowling line-up comprising James Anderson and Stuart Broad. India went on to register 455 in the first innings and won the match by 246 runs against a strong opposition led by Alastair Cook.

8. 106 vs Australia, MCG, 2018

This was perhaps the most defining hundred of Pujara's glorious Test career. He scored a magnificent 106 off 319 deliveries batting time and overs and forging partnerships with Agarwal and Kohli as India scored in excess of 400 in the first innings. Jasprit Bumrah did the rest and the visitors went on to record a famous 137-run win at the iconic venue - India had taken a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

9. 50 & 77 vs Australia, SCG, 2021

Pujara scored a crucial 50 for India in the first innings but saved his best for the second when he combined with Rishabh Pant and stitched together a rearguard action worth 148 runs for the fourth wicket. Pujara was the fifth batsman dismissed after scoring 77 but more significantly he had played out 205 deliveries and batted for 286 minutes. India. chasing 407, went on to save the Test which set them up for the decider at the Gabba.

10. 56 vs Australia, Brisbane, 2021

Pujara batted for 211 deliveries taking numerous blows on his body against the best bowling attack in the world keeping one end secure allowing the likes of Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant to play their natural aggressive game at the other.

Ultimately, this mix of caution and aggression led India to chase down 328 in the final innings and register one of the greatest series' wins in their Test cricket history by breaching Australia's fortress at The Gabba. Pujara's 56 was worth its weight in gold.



Team Rankings

RankTeamPointsRating
1 Australia 3028 116
2 New Zealand 2406 115
3 India 3085 114
4 England 4326 106
5 Sri Lanka 2454 91
FULL Ranking
RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 5405 123
2 India 6102 117
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 4344 111
5 South Africa 3345 108
FULL Ranking
RankTeamPointsRating
1 England 6877 275
2 Australia 6800 272
3 India 10186 268
4 Pakistan 7516 259
5 South Africa 5047 252
FULL Ranking