Cheteshwar Pujara underlined his importance in the current Indian batting line-up with an innings of immense grit and patience that saw him cop a blow to helmet, endure a batting collapse and then farm strike with the tail-enders en route to a memorable 15th Test century.

After being dropped for the series opener at Edgbaston, Pujara answered his critics in style who complained of his slow-scoring rate with an unbeaten 132 to hand India a slim 27-run lead as they were bowled out for 273 in their first innings on Day 2 of the fourth Test in Southampton on Friday.

Pujara, who struck 16 fours during his innings, was the captain India needed to steady their ship that encountered an iceberg going by the name of Moeen Ali who in quick time picked up his fifth five-wicket haul in Tests and at one stage was on a hat-trick.