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Pujara and Yuvraj put India on course for huge total at Lunch

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Cheteshwar Pujara (above) shared an unbeaten 127-run stand with Yuvraj Singh to take India past 400 © AFP

 

Ahmedabad: Nov 16, 2012

 

Cheteshwar Pujara scored the second century of his fledgling international career while comeback man Yuvraj Singh reached his 11th half ton as the duo consolidated India’s strong position on day two of the first cricket Test against England on Friday.

 

At lunch, India were 410 for four in 121 overs, after adding 83 runs in 31 overs to their overnight score of 323 for four.

 

Pujara was unconquered on 133 after having batted for nearly six sessions while Yuvraj was unbeaten on 72 after a stay of 174 minutes.

 

While the right-handed Pujara hit 16 fours in 274 balls, the left-handed Yuvraj had six hits to the fence and two over it off 140 balls.

 

In the morning, needing just two runs to reach his second 100 in only his sixth Test, the 24-year-old Pujara got them in singles in nine balls that he faced in the morning.

 

Yuvraj, the other not out batsman who had played his previous Test one year ago against the West Indies, also moved along from his last evening’s score of 24 to complete his fifty after the first hour of play with a four off Graeme Swann.

 

The pair also completed their century partnership for the fifth wicket in 204 balls, to pile on more agony on the visitors. It was the second three-figure stand for India in the game, after openers Virender Sehwag who made a flamboyant 117 and Gautam Gambhir had raised 134 yesterday.

 

The two overnight batsmen were unruffled this morning on the slow-paced, low-bounce wicket.

 

Confronted by England’s only successful bowler yesterday, Swann, from one end and pace in the form of Stuart Broad at the other, the fifth wicket pair went about their task of consolidating Thursday’s position in a calm and collected manner.

 

Pujara took a single in the first over he faced from Broad. After the two batsmen played out two maiden overs against Swann, the right-handed youngster from Rajkot turned Broad for another single to long leg to complete his hundred.

 

It was the Rajkot-born batsman’s second Test century in five games since his debut against Australia at Bangalore in October, 2010, having made 159 previously against New Zealand in the first Test at Hyderabad earlier this year.

 

Then Pujara went into the attack mode by straight driving Swann for a four.

 

Encouraged by this show of aggression by his partner, Yuvraj too stepped out to England’s most successful Test off-spinner and carted him over long-off for his first six in the same over.

 

Yuvraj, who has battled cancer and made his comeback into the Test team after a year’s gap, swept the bowler for a four as Swann gave away 15 runs in that over. Later he stepped out to Samit Patel and carted the left-arm spinner over the straight field for his second six.

 

The 350 of the innings was raised in the seventh over of the morning and in six and a half hours before Pujara edged an attempted cut off Swann wide of the lone slip fielder.

 

In the same over Swann appealed unsuccessfully for a leg before decision when the right-hander offered no shot to a ball that turned in.

 

James Anderson replaced Broad at the pavilion end after the latter’s four-over spell for 10 runs. The hosts added 44 runs in 16 overs in the first hour of play, with Pujara contributing 17.

 

Yuvraj completed his half century by stepping out and driving Patel, who replaced Swann immediately after the first drinks interval, to the mid-wicket fence.

 

Yuvraj’s fifty came off 98 balls and contained five fours and a six.

 

England bowlers continued to struggle and failed to make an impression though the three pace bowlers Anderson, Broad and Bresnan bowled tight spells. Towards the end of the session England brought in Kevin Pietersen to bowl his part-time slows.

 

Brief Scores: India 410 for 4 (Cheteshwar Pujara 133*, Yuvraj Singh 72*; Graeme Swann 4 for 119) vs England

 

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