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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cheteshwar Pujara carries the bat through !!

It started with AB Tancred  in Test no. 32 in Mar 1889 ** and till date less than 50 [49 to be precise !!]  have achieved this feat !  ~ the last time, it occurred in a Test match was in Dec 2011...

Tinotenda Mbiri Kanayi Mawoyo is not exactly a household name but he too joined that elite batsmen list that has names of Barrett, R Abel, PF Warner, ending with David Warner.  The list has illustrious openers like Glenn Turner, Sunil Gavaskar, Mudassar Nazaar, Boycott, Haynes, Gooch to name a few and in this century – those in the list are : Javed Omar, Virender Sehwag, Simon Katich, Chris Gayle, Imran Farhat, Rahul Dravid and Mawoyo.   Yes it is the list of ‘batsmen who carried their bat through a completed innings’ – a remarkable feat to open the batting remaining unbeaten when 10 others fall down..

In the ongoing 3rd Test No. 2179 at Sinhalese Sports Club Ground, Colombo, the make-shift opener, who is playing only because the Series has seen regular openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay suffering injuries - Cheteshwar Pujara became the fourth Indian to carry his bat through a Test innings as India's last two wickets lasted 25 minutes on the third morning.  India managed to add 20 runs to their overnight total of 292 for 8 with Rangana Herath hitting the stumps of both Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Pujara whom many would not like as an Opener joins the Indians – Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul DRavid and Virender SEhwag.

In  22 innings in Asian subcontinent,  he has six hundreds and three fifties. Among batsmen who've scored at least 1000 runs in Asia since 2010, only two batsmen - Hashim Amla and VVS Laxman - have a higher average.  He had 104 run partnership with Amit Mishra, India's highest for the eighth wicket against Sri Lanka, and also the highest for the eighth wicket by any team at the SSC. The partnership was also by far the highest stand of the innings - the next-best was 55, by Pujara and Rohit Sharma, followed by 54 (Pujara and Naman Ojha) and 50 (Pujara and Virat Kohli).

29.21 Amit Mishra's average in overseas Tests: in 14 overseas innings he has three fifties, including a highest of 84 at The Oval in 2011. In 10 innings in India, he averages only 12.62, with a highest of 28. 59 Mishra's score; he is the first Indian No. 9 batsman to score a Test half-century in Sri Lanka.  Would he fear scoring that ? – the last time he made that 84, he had to sit out of the team for 4 years !!!

I fondly remember the occasion when an Indian first did – though that Series was a nightmare for the Team.  That was the Test at Faislabad in Jan 1983 – when India toured Pakistan with Gavaskar at the helm.  The First Test at Lahore was a honourable draw.  In the next at Karachi, Pak beat India by an innings and 86 runs. The third at Faislabad in Jan 1983 was won by Pak by 10 wickets; 4th at Sind by an Innings & 119 runs.  Indians salvaged a draw in the 5th and 6th.  Thirmalai Anandanpillai Sekar made his debut (Vengsarkar dropped 2 catches in one over of his); Mohinder remarkably made 3 centuries.  Gavaskar made only one.  Imran was at his peak taking more than 40 wickets with prodigious inswingers.

The Indians were mauled at Faislabad - Test no. 945 played at Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad in Jan 1983.  The only consolation in defeat was Sunil’s 26th Test century – he equalled Gary Sobers and was hotly in pursuit of Bradman’s World record of 29 centuries.  He achieved another record – that of carrying his bat through, battling for more than 7 hours.

Batting first India made 372  helped by Vishwanath 53; Kapil 41, Sandip Patil 84, Kirmani 66 and Madanlal 54.  Imran took 6 for 98.  Pakistan made a massive 652 with centuries by  Miandad (126), Zaheer Abbas (168), Saleem Malik (168) and Imran 117.  Kapil took 7 wickets but conceded 220 runs. In the second essay Indians were all out for 286.  Mohinder made 78.  Gavaskar remained unbeaten on 127 facing 262 balls.  The fall of wickets would partly tell you the story :  1-27 (Arun Lal), 2-28 (Vengsarkar), 3-48 (Viswanath), 4-193 (Amarnath), 5-201 (Patil), 6-227 (Kapil Dev),7-236 (Kirmani), 8-261 (Madan Lal), 9-282 (Maninder Singh), 10-286 (Doshi)

Sehwag the most unlikely one achieved this at Galle during his great knock of 201 at  Galle and Dravid accomplished that feat at Oval against England.

Certainly ‘ carrying the bat’ is one the toughest accomplishments !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
30th Aug 2015. @ 1 noon

Photo credit : Bcci,tv

PS :  that’s what makes Test Cricket interesting.  The 1st day play was marred by rain.  Pujara carried the bat through ~ Lankans were all out; Pujara was out for a duck in the 2nd ball of 2nd innings – with India at 21/3 – rain again stopped play  @ 17.00 hrs

**  Incidentally, AB Tancred playing for South Africa in Capetown against England remained unbeaten on 26 in team’s total of 47 in that test in Mar 1889. 

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