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Cheteshwar Pujara, old wine in a new bottle

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Last updated on 16 Feb 2023 | 07:09 AM
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Cheteshwar Pujara, old wine in a new bottle

Cheteshwar Pujara will be the 13th Indian player to feature in 100+ Tests

For a long time, Cheteshwar Pujara was deemed as Rahul Dravid 2.0. While he may not have as many runs as Dravid, his playing style or the approach towards his innings, are similar.

The modern-day Test cricket demands a different style of play, but Pujara is one of those batters who prefers to play the old-fashioned way of grinding and batting long. In 99 matches, he has batted close to 16000 balls. 

In the second Test, Pujara will step onto the field for the 100th time in an Indian jersey. Before that, here are a few prominent stats and records that Pujara has to his name in Tests:

Batting long, his forte

In Tests, Pujara has batted 15797 balls in 169 innings. Since his debut in 2010, only Joe Root (19082), Sir Alastair Cook (17534), Azhar Ali (16301) and Steve Smith (15927) have batted more balls than the Indian.

Out of those 15797 balls, in 14444 balls, he has batted at number three. These are the most balls faced by a number three batter since his debut.

Among Indians, only Dravid (20206) had batted more balls in his first 99 Tests, than Pujara. Adding on, Pujara has lost a wicket every 99.4 balls. Among Indians who have faced 2000+ balls in their first 99 matches, only Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar had a higher balls/dismissal ratio.  

Top order success

In his Test career, Pujara has hit 19 centuries, out of which, 18 have come at No.3. He has scored 6355 runs at an average of 45.1, with 49 scores of over 50. Since his debut, only Kane Williamson has scored more runs, hit more centuries and 50+ scores than Pujara as a No.3 batter.

Batting in top three, Pujara has five centuries in SENA nation. Among Indian batters, only Dravid (10) and Sunil Gavaskar (8) have more centuries in these countries as a top order batter (1-3).

Overall, since his debut, among the Asian batters, only Virat Kohli (11) has more centuries in SENA countries than Pujara.

Among Asian number three batters, again Dravid with eight centuries tops the list and Kumar Sangakkara with seven is ahead of Pujara, in centuries count in SENA countries.

A good home record

In 48 Tests on home soil, Pujara has scored 3706 runs at an average of 53.7. At one point of time, that average was even better, but owing to failures in recent times, the average has come down.

Among Indian batters who have scored 1500+ runs, his average of 53.7 is the seventh best. He has a better average than Tendulkar (52.7), VVS Laxman (51.6), Dravid (51.4), Gavaskar (50.2), and Sourav Ganguly (43).

Barring against South Africa, Pujara has an average of over 50 against all teams at home (batting two or more innings)

While batting at home, the Saurashtra man has a balls/dismissal ratio of 107.6. Among Indian batters who have faced 2000+ balls at home, his ratio is the fourth-best.

A team man

In his Test career, Pujara has been involved with 43 century partnerships. Since his debut, no Indian has been involved in as many century stands as Pujara. Out of those, 39 century stands have come when he has batted at number three.

In this period, only Williamson (40) has been involved in more century partnerships while batting at number three. Overall, Joe Root (62), Steve Smith (54), Cook (50), and David Warner are involved in more.

An unexpected decline at home

After having a sensational start, Pujara’s career has taken a U-turn. From his debut till the year 2017, Pujara had an average of 53 after scoring 4396 runs. At home, he was even better. In 33 matches, Pujara had an average of 63 after scoring 3086 runs.

However, since 2018, his form has taken a hit. His overall average has come down to 34.5 and his home average (31) is lower than away/neutral average. Adding to his misery, in between 2010 and 2017, Pujara had 10 centuries at home and four centuries away. Since 2018, all his five centuries have come in away conditions and none at home.

FEW OTHER NUGGETS

- In his knock of 202 against Australia in Ranchi in 2017, Pujara batted 525 balls, which is the most by an Indian in an innings. He is the first and only Indian to play 500+ balls in an innings.

-In that innings, Pujara reached his double century in 521 balls, which is the slowest ever double century by an Indian in Tests. Previously, Navjot Singh Sidhu’s feat in 488 balls against West Indies in 1997, was the slowest.

-In the Eden Gardens Test against Sri Lanka in 2017, Pujara became the third Indian batter to bat on each of the five days.

-In the third Test in Colombo (SSC) against Sri Lanka in 2015, Pujara became the fourth Indian after Gavaskar (vs WI in 1983), Virender Sehwag (vs SL in 2008), and Dravid (vs ENG in 2011), to carry the bat through a completed innings.

-Among Asian number three batters, Pujara’s four 50+ scores in South Africa, are the most. Dravid and Sangakkar have three 50+ scores in 17 and 15 innings.

-In the Border-Gavaskar trophy, only two Indians have an average of 50+ after batting 20+ innings. One is Tendulkar (56.2) and the other is Pujara (52.8).

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