Cheteshwar Pujara is about to break 140-year-old Test record

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Cheteshwar Pujara’s astute patience was on display yet again as he was grinding it out in the toughest of batting conditions over the visiting Sri Lankan side. While rain and bad light forced the Indian innings to start and stop over the first two days where only 32.5 overs of play was possible, India’s No.3 scored 47 out of India’s total of 74, made for the loss of five wickets. Pujara, who walked out to bat after a wicket on the very first ball, batted for 102 balls and accumulated nine boundaries.

He stood on one end despite wickets tumbling regularly on the other end on a green track where Lankan pacers ran in to bowl under overcast conditions. If the possibility of rain continues for the next couple of days, Pujara might end up batting on each of the five days if India’s 2nd innings coincides with the final two days or their first innings lasts till the final day due to rain.

Till day, only eight players have achieved this rare record with the last of them being Alviro Petersen in Wellington, 2012. Among Indian players, ML Jaisimha against Australia in 1960 and the current Indian coach, Ravi Shastri against England in 1984-85 batted on all the five days of a Test. Interestingly, both the Tests were hosted by Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

140-year-old record under threat

The oldest record in International cricket has to be Australia’s Charles Bannerman scoring 67.34 percentage of the team’s runs in the very first innings of the first ever Test match. Bannerman remained unbeaten on 165 in that innings while Australia’s total was 245. As on day two, Pujara has scored 63.51 percentage of India’s total. If he lasts until the completion of Indian innings, he has a great chance of breaking the oldest lasting record in the history.

Pujara left alone the ones which swung away after pitching around the stumps line and took his chances on fuller and shorter deliveries during this innings. If the dependable batsman plays in the same rhythm, Bannerman’s record could finally be bettered.

The Indian record is 63.98 percentage by VVS Laxman, who scored 167 out of India’s 261 against Australia at the SCG in 2000. This is the 3rd highest percentage of runs scored by any player in a completed Test innings after Bannerman’s 67.34% and Michael Slater’s 66.84 against England, exactly a year before Laxman at the same venue.

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