Cheteshwar Pujara is arguably one of the most dependable Indian batsmen in Tests and once again the Saurashtra batsman proved that his team can count on him. In the ongoing third and final Test against South Africa at the Wanderers, Pujara registered an unwanted record to his name as he became the second Indian to take the most number of balls to get off the mark in a Test. Pujara took an unreal 54 balls to score his first run in the final Test. Once he opened his account, the entire Indian dressing room was all smiles. While Pujara steadied the Indian innings after the visitors lost two early wickets in form of KL Rahul and Murali Vijay, who were soon followed by Virat Kohli, Twitter was in a meltdown over Pujara's determination and focus as he left the South African bowlers frustrated.
It was in the 22nd over when Pujara, who was almost 90 minutes into the game, nudged a Lungi Ngidi ball behind square and got off the mark.
Pujara is practising abstinence.....— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 24, 2018
Proper cricket.— Fred Boycott (@FredBoycott) January 24, 2018
Pujara. 0* off 43 balls. pic.twitter.com/m1kwtyjh2z
Somewhere between— Navneet (@_farzi_doc_) January 24, 2018
*Pujara comes into the crease*
*Pujara scores his 1st run*
we all grew up.... pic.twitter.com/RYwYBSfOb0
I need Pujara's level of chill in my life— El Mago (@LonNkuhlu) January 24, 2018
In parallel universe— NARESH (@connect2ns) January 24, 2018
Pujara playing with 100+ strike rate#IndvSA
Before Pujara, former India cricketer Rajesh Chauhan had taken 57 balls to get off the mark against Sri Lanka in 1994.
Apart from this he also has the record of taking the second most deliveries since 2001 in Tests to get off the mark. Leading the chart is Stuart Broad of England, who had taken 61 deliveries against New Zealand in 2013. Faf du Plessis (52 balls) and Hashim Amla (45 balls) are just behind Pujara.
On course to his first run on the 54th delivery, Pujara, on 36 consecutive balls without a run, surpassed his own record of the longest scoreless streak in Test innings. Previous was 35 balls vs West Indies in 2016.
Earlier, captain Kohli had opted to bat on a green wicket, despite overnight and morning rains juicing up the conditions.
India were reduced to 13/2 as Vijay (8) and KL Rahul (0) were sent back to the dressing room cheaply.
Pujara and Kohli then came together and resisted the South African bowling through a testing passage of play. They stayed together for 110 balls, despite being beaten and getting three lives between them.
Philander had almost trapped Pujara lbw in the 6th over, only for DRS to stay with umpire Ian Gould's call as the ball seemed only to clip the bails.
However, Pujara was dismissed by Andile Phehlukwayo for 50 off 179 deliveries.
(With PTI Inputs)