Hyderabad: Cheteshwar Pujara scored his maiden test hundred to lead India from the front on Day one of the first test against New Zealand at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here today.
Pujara who made a comeback to test cricket after 1 and ½ years remained unbeaten on 119 to help India end the day at 307/5.
Pujara who came into bat in the number three position earlier held by the great Rahul Dravid showed immense patience and technique. Pujara innings was laced with 15 boundaries and a six and he faced 226 deliveries. Indian skipper was on the other end when they finished the day. He scored 29 of 37 deliveries which included two fours and a six.
Pujara stood in denial and when there were falling on regular occasions, he hardly made any mistakes and went to score a scintillating century.
Virat Kohli, who has been most outstanding batsman in the shorter format of the game for India in recent tours shone again and proved everyone that he belongs to the test cricket as well with his enterprising 58 runs knock off 107 deliveries which included eight fours.
Virender Sehwag also rode his luck to score a fluent 47 runs knock, whereas Gautam Gambhir (22) and Sachin Tendulkar (19) failed to carry on with the start they got.
For New Zealand it was Trent Boult who impressed the most with his spell of 63-2.
India electing to bat first in the match got off to a racy start before losing Gambhir in the 10th over of the innings when he edged one past to the keeper Kruger van Wyk of Boult’s bowling.
After the fall of the wicket, Sehwag however continued living life on the edge and survived thrice before getting out in the 15th over. Sehwag three runs shy of his half century tried to cut Doug Bracewell but then it took an edge on the way to fly straight to Martin Guptill at second slip.
His departure saw the little master walk into bat. Pujara and Sachin got into damage control mode and played cautiously and avoided any further casualty before lunch.
They went into lunch with the scorecard reading 97/2.
But it was not long that India lost one more wicket and this time it was the big wicket of Sachin. Boult bowled a superb delivery to knock of
Sachin’s middle stump to send danger signals to Indian dressing room.
His departure brought the in-form Virat Kohli and both these batsmen stitched a partnership of 125 for the fourth wicket while completing individual half centuries.
But Kohli however got out soon after scoring his half century after he edged a wide Chris Martin delivery and Gupthill made no mistake at second slip.
It was not very long that India lost their second wicket in the form of Suresh Raina who was out for three.
Indian skipper walked in next and he could have been out in his first delivery had Kiwi skipper Ross Taylor held on to the edge off Jeetan Patel’s delivery.
But Dhoni soon found his composure back and assisted Pujara well and both the batsmen denied New Zealand any further success.
India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Capt.), Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav.
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (Capt.), Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Daniel Flynn, Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Kruger van Wyk, Doug Bracewell, Jeetan Patel, Chris Martin, Trent Boult.
By Indian Sports News Network