Vizag Test: Cheteshwar Pujara slams second ton, England in a spin
England spinners Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Zafar Ansari spanked as Pujara slams second ton of the series
India's Cheteshwar Pujara celebrates after his hundred on Day One of the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam yesterday. Pics/PTI
Visakhapatnam: Cheteshwar Pujara’s batting is not easy on the eye and that’s something that becomes more apparent when he bats in the company of someone like Virat Kohli with whom he shared a double century stand on Day 1 of the second Test against England here yesterday. But boy, isn’t he so effective. If you have any doubts ask the England bowlers who tried everything they could but to no avail.
Facing only his fifth ball on the day, Pujara (119, 275m, 204b, 12x4, 2x6) was struck on his back by a short ball from Stuart Broad but thereafter it was the one-drop batsman who dealt the blows.
Pujara doesn’t really caress the ball like a Murali Vijay or the day’s second centurion Kohli, in fact his firm pushes seem awkward to start with but once you see the ball has been placed nicely in the gap and that its racing to the fence, you realise the sheer effectiveness of his technique.
A day on which the ACA VDCA Cricket Stadium here became India’s 24th Test centre, the real feature of Pujara’s batting was the way he used his feet, especially against the spinners. Time and again he nullified the efforts of England’s three-pronged spin attack by stepping out smartly and meeting the ball on the full. And when as a result the likes of Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari and Moeen Ali (yes all three are England bowlers!) dragged a ball a bit short, Pujara was quick to rock back and cut or pull powerfully.
It was one such pull for six over midwicket that took him to his hundred, the third successive century in Tests, following on from Indore and Rajkot. Three new venues, three Tests and three centuries has a nice ring to it doesn’t it, especially when the third, also Pujara’s 10th ton in his 40th Test, seems to have set up the match nicely in favour of the Indian team.
Now the question is, will England survive the twin assault from the Indian camp. With the pitch showing variable bounce the real value of Pujara’s innings, as also that of Kohli’s, will only be known when the Indian spinners take the field.
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