Cheteshwar Pujara defied Australia’s bowling attack and overcame stifling conditions at the Adelaide Oval with a century on the opening day of the first Test at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.
After reckless batting in the opening two sessions, India were in danger of being bowled out cheaply but Pujara scored 123 runs as India reached 250/9 at stumps.
Pujara didn’t score a run for 55 minutes while he was partnering Rohit Sharma, but then boosted the run rate while battling with the tailenders. His century – and eventual score of 123 runs from 246 balls – bore similarities with his knock earlier in the year in Southampton.
The only way one could stop him was with sheer brilliance and that is exactly what Pat Cummins managed with just one stump to aim at, finding Pujara a yard short at the non-striker’s end. That, as it turned out, was the final act of the day which otherwise went Australia’s way.
The 30-year-old notched his 16th century and also passed 5,000 Test runs in the process.
Pujara played with the determination and patience, which was lacking from the rest of India’s specialist batsmen. He scored his first hundred on Australian soil and joined an elite list of players courtesy his outstanding knock.
Pujara became the sixth Indian batsman to score a hundred on the opening day of a Test match outside Asia after Vijay Manjrekar, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay.
Kohli is the only Indian batsman to achieve the feat twice in his career so far.
Pujara meanwhile, also hit the third highest score by a visiting batsman on the first day of a Test in Australia.
Incidentally, Pujara and Rahul Dravid have reached the 3000, 4000 and 5000-run mark in Test innings in equal number of innings. Pujara, like Dravid, has taken 67 innings to reach 3k, 84 innings to reach 4k and 108 innings to complete 5k runs in the longest format.
After the end of play on the first day, where the temperatures soared to about 39 degrees, Pujara toiled hard for every run. And this has got twitter abuzz.
Check out some of the tweets below:
Cheteshwar Pujara becomes the 12th Indian batsman to score 5,000 Test runs
Pujara brings up his 16th Test century, 3rd against Australia and 1st in Australia. Excellent batting comes to an end. Congratulations! Thanks for keeping our hopes alive.#AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/aF4jfZ02yT
— N!K (@Risenik) December 6, 2018
— Pruthvi Ahir (@PruthviAhir9) December 6, 2018
— Siddhartha Tripathi (@sidtripathii) December 6, 2018
Cheteshwar Pujara is nothing like the modern day cricketer. In brand value, aesthetic appeal or social media obsession. Which only makes it that much more satisfying when he gets runs when they matter. Top, top knock this. #AusvInd
— Raunak Kapoor (@RaunakRK) December 6, 2018
A brilliant innings by Cheteshwar Pujara under pressure💯. Brings up his 16th Test Century. An exhibition of patience and determination.🙌👏💙#AUSvIND
— Rohan Guha (@imRohanOfficial) December 6, 2018
Wonderful wonderful innings from Cheteshwar Pujara. Classy, resilient, tenacious….all these old-world virtues. This was the gold standard of test match batting. pic.twitter.com/Egyne7Fc6e
— Rahul Agrawal (@Rahulraj5796) December 6, 2018
Most runs by a visiting team player on the opening day of a Test series in Australia:
132 – Sir Gary Sobers, Brisbane 1960
126 – Maurice Leyland, Brisbane 1936
123 – CHETESHWAR PUJARA, Adelaide 2018#AUSvIND
— Sampath Bandarupalli (@SampathStats) December 6, 2018
DEPENDIBLE 💯 BY CHETESHWAR PUJARA.👏👏
— RISHU SHARMA (@rishu99923) December 6, 2018
Pujara and Dravid have got to milestones of Test runs in identical number of innings.
3000 runs in 67 innings
4000 runs in 84 innings
5000 runs in 108 innings #AusvInd#cheteshwarpujara & #RahulDravid Test cricket needs these character! pic.twitter.com/Qqe9wf4WJQ
— Indian Cricket Team Fans (@indiancricfans1) December 6, 2018
— Brainfaden Smith (@brainfadesmith) December 6, 2018
Not the first time a gutsy Indian three has led India’s recovery at the Adelaide Oval. Standing ovation @cheteshwar1 – A knock that’ll headline your career for years to come. #AusvInd #CheteshwarPujara
— Jatin Sapru (@jatinsapru) December 6, 2018
Least innings to 5,000 Test runs among Indians:
95 – Sunil Gavaskar
99 – Virender Sehwag
103 – Sachin Tendulkar
105 – Virat Kohli
108 – Rahul Dravid, Cheteshwar Pujara*#INDvAUS
— **VOTE FOR CAR** (@Virat4everr) December 6, 2018
— Rave Shastri (@RaveShastri) December 6, 2018