Every time Chesteshwar Pujara completes his fifty, a century is always on the cards . The story of this 25-year-old was no different versus West Indies at Wankhede where he hit the three-figure mark for the fifth time in his career on Friday. India were 328/4 with a first innings lead of 146 against a hapless West Indies.
Update: Pujara's innings was brought to an end on 113 by Shane Shillingford, his fifth of the innings. India were 354/5, leading West Indies by 172.
Batting alongside Sachin Tendulkar - in his 200th and final Test, Pujara had the best seat in the stadium as his legendary partner departed after scoring 74 classy runs. Once Tendulkar fell, Pujara did his best to keep the party going in the stands. With three fifties to his name, the Saurashtra batsman shifted gears and kept the pressure up against West Indies.
While his fifty took 77 deliveries with five fours, his next fifty came offÂ 69 deliveries with another six fours. Having an equally aggressive Virat Kohli at the other end was a boon as well. Kohli got his 50 too, his 57 coming off 78 balls.
West Indies, still recovering from their hysterical celebrations after claiming Tendulkar - were made to work extra hard and their efforts almost manifested in a wicket in the 54th over of the innings. Shane Shillingford made one of his deliveries turn and bounce to surprise Pujara who popped it to the fielder at short leg. The confident tourists broke into celebrations once again but the TV umpire ruled in favour of the batsman as replays showed the ball had kissed the ground before being caught.
This though was the only hiccup in an otherwise fluent knock from Pujara. Still relatively new to international cricket, Pujara has shown in his 14 Tests that he is capable of going the distance. An average of 63 also suits the batsman who has cemented his No. 3 position. In the ongoing series, he scored 17 in the first Test at Eden Gardens in a match where Indian batsmen scored heavily. This time though, Pujara looks in no mood to stop before he has effectively batted the opposition out of the match - a perfect farewell to Sachin Tendulkar.