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Cheteshwar Pujara drives India past 500 at Tea

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Cheteshwar Pujara hit 21 boundaries in his unbeaten knock of 196 to give India the advantage on day two © AFP

 

Ahmedabad: Nov 16, 2012

 

Cheteshwar Pujara inched closer towards his maiden double hundred to pile on England‘s misery as India reached 502 for six at tea on the second day of the first cricket Test at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera.

 

The 24-year-old Rajkot-born batsman was just four runs short of his double ton in only his sixth Test after having batted for a marathon period of almost eight hours.

 

At the tea break, the hosts were confortably placed 502 for six in 152 overs, with Pujara one shot away from becoming only the sixth Indian batsman to hit a double century against England. He will join the list of Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Viswanath, Vinod Kambli and Rahul Dravid.

 

Pujara had faced 367 balls and struck 21 fours during his long innings. The other unbeaten batsman at the end of session two was Ravichandran Ashwin on 21.

 

Resuming at the lunchtime score of 410 for four, India lost the wickets of Yuvraj Singh and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni as England stemmed the run flow a bit.

 

Off-spinner Graeme Swann picked up one of the two wickets that fell today to add to his four-wicket haul yesterday and register his 14th five-wicket haul in an innings. His figures at the break read five for 143 after a marathon stint of 50 overs.

 

Yuvraj, not out 72 at the end of session one, could add only two runs in under 10 minutes before slogging a full-toss from left-arm spinner Samit Patel straight down to Swann at long on. 

 

The 30-year-old Yuvraj, who made a comeback into the Test squad after a year’s gap during which time he underwent treatment for cancer, had batted for just over three hours and hit six fours and two sixes during his 151-ball vigil.

 

For Yuvraj it was his 11th half century. He has three hundreds, all against Pakistan, under his belt.

 

The partnership for the fifth wicket between Yuvraj and Pujara, that started late last evening and proceeded beyond the first session today, yielded 130 runs and came off 285 balls.

 

India skipper Dhoni lasted just 39 minutes and scored five runs before losing patience against Swann. He dragged an attempted sweep on to his stumps off his gloves which gave the off-spinner his fifth wicket of the game.

 

After Dhoni’s dismissal, R Ashwin joined Pujara and the two grinded their way till tea without being separated, adding 58 runs for the seventh wicket in the process.

 

The second hour of play after lunch produced 55 runs in 15 overs.

 

With Pujara content to push his way forward on the sluggish, low wicket where stroke-play was increasingly becoming difficult, the run-rate dropped drastically.

 

The right-handed batsman, unbeaten on 133 at lunch, reached 150 but his progress from 100 to 150 took him over two hours and 109 balls.

 

In the morning the home team added 83 runs in 31 overs to their overnight score of 323 for four without losing any wicket.

 

Brief Scores: India 502 for 6 (Cheteshwar Pujara 196*, Virender Sehwag 117, Yuvraj Singh 74; Graeme Swann 5 for 143) vs England.

 

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