Colombo: Cheteshwar Pujara continued with his rich vein of form as he celebrated his 50th Test appearance in style at Colombo. Pujara joined an elite list of cricketers in becoming one of the quickest to reach 4000 Test runs.
Pujara needed 34 before the start of the second Test between India and Sri Lanka at the SSC stadium. The Saurashtra batsman was calm as usual even when Sri Lanka fought back with KL Rahul and Virat Kohli’s wickets in quick succession.
Pujara reached the milestone in the 42nd over when he guided a flatter delivery by Dilruwan Perera towards third man for a couple of runs in his 84th innings. By doing so, he joined his idol Rahul Dravid to become the third quickest Indian to score 4000 runs in Test cricket. Virender Sehwag took 79 innings to achieve the feat while Sunil Gavaskar did it in 82 innings. Overall, he became the 15th Indian to aggregate 4000 runs.
He made his 50th Test more fruitful when he scored his 16th half-century in the 48th over. This time he played with the spin past short leg fielder for a single off Perera to bring up his fifty.
Pujara has been a key figure in the India team. In the last one year, he has played 18 Tests scoring 1613 at 64.51. Even the great Sourav Ganguly feels Pujara should continue to bat at No.3 in whites and hopes the 29-year-old goes on to play at least 100 Tests.
“He’s half-way through now. You expect him to play 100 Tests. He doesn’t play ODI and T20 cricket. You bring him back in Tests and he hits the stride straight away. The good thing about him is that he went to county cricket and that has helped him. I said a year ago when he was dropped against the West Indies that they should play him at No. 3 and I was not wrong,” Ganguly said. India had won the first Test by 304 runs and are a win away from their eighth consecutive Test series victory.