Ranchi: Cheteshwar Pujara frustrated Australia in his record stay at the crease while closing in on his third double ton as India reached 503 for 6 in their first innings to take a 52-run lead at tea on day four of the third cricket Test here on Sunday at JSCA International Staidum Complex in Ranchi .
Pujara became the first Indian to face more than 500 balls in an innings as he got past his ‘role model’ Rahul Dravid’s 12-year-old record of a longest innings in terms of balls faced. Dravid had faced 495 balls for his 270 against Pakistan in April 2004. Pujara (batting 190) has so far faced 505 deliveries and has hit 20 boundaries as he remained 10 runs short of a third double century at the tea break.
He had scored an unbeaten 206 against England in Ahmedabad 2012 and 204 against Australia in Hyderabad 2013. However, this double century came at a crucial time given the circumstances of the match and the series. A loss in Ranchi would mean that India would not be able to retain the prestigious Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Also, Pujara played the anchor’s knock as he kept losing partners at regular intervals until wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha came to the crease, who also ended up scoring his third Test century and helped India take the lead in the match. Pujara’s knock is also the longest innings, in terms of balls faced, played an Indian batsman, going past Rahul Dravid’s record of facing 495 balls while scoring a magnificent 270 against Pakistan in Rawalpindi 2004.
He earlier went past VVS Laxman‘s epic knock of 281 for which the wristy batsman faced 452 deliveries against Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata 2001. That was earlier the longest knock by an Indian batsman on home soil.