Pujara stakes strong claim for Eng series with his 17th FC double-century

Rajkot, Jan 7 (UNI) Cheteshwar Pujara, who was not picked up for South Africa tour, has staked a very strong claim for the upcoming Test series against England by smashing his 17th first-class double century against Jharkhand on Day 3 of the ongoing Ranji Trophy at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium here on Sunday.

At lunch, Pujara was batting on 236 runs scored in 352 balls with 29 boundaries, which enabled Saurashtra to post a massive 566/4, taking a first-innings lead of 424 runs over Jharkhand.

Jharkhand were bowled out 142 in their first innings. Chirag Jani was the star bowler who picked up 5/22 in 11 overs followed by Jaydev Unadkat and Aditya Jadeja who claimed two wickets each.

Pujara’s ommission, along with Ajinkya Rahane, was a big talking point during India’s tour to South Africa after youngsters Shubman Gill and Shreyas Iyer were found wanting against the lively pace attack of the hosts on bouncy tracks.

Cricket expert Sanjay Manjrekar was of the view that either Pujara or Rahane should be playing for India in Tests. There is a lot of meaning to it as these youngsters can enjoy the cushion of Pujara’s caliber who can be a perfect foil for softening the ball to make life easier for any inexperienced batsmen.

Gill who tried to fill Pujara’s No.3 slot failed miserably during the Test series against South Africa in The Rainbow Nation.

Pujara’s double century has added trouble to Gill ahead of a 5-Test series against England. So far, Gill has played 20 Test matches for India, scored 1030 runs at an average of 31.12, and cracked two centuries.

On the flipside, Pujara has played 103 Tests and scored 7195 runs at an average of 43.61. And smashed 19 Test centuries, besides crossing the fifty-run mark 35 times. Also, he has scored 3 double centuries in Tests.

Not only this, today Pujara raced past VVS Laxman’s record of scoring 19730 runs in his FC career after he crossed 161 during Saurashtra’s first innings.

Sunil Gavaskar leads the list among Indians with 25834 runs with 81 centuries followed by Sachin Tendulkar who finished his career with 25396 runs with as many centuries.

Now, it will be interesting to see whether Pujara is picked up for the India-England series or not.

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