Cheteshwar Pujara remained unbeaten on 145 at the end of the first innings of the third Test © AFP
Cheteshwar Pujara remained unbeaten on 145 at the end of the first innings of the third Test © AFP

Former Sri Lanka skipper and batting legend Mahela Jayawardene feels Cheteshwar Pujara’s hundred in the first innings in the third Test may be the defining moment of the series. In his column for Times of India, Jayawardene wrote, “India will have breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday evening because, precariously placed on 180 for seven, they were in a tight spot on a challenging Sinhalese Sports Club pitch. However, a superb fighting hundred from Cheteshwar Pujara and very useful 59 from Amit Mishra changed their fortunes.” Cheteshwar Pujara emulates Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sunil Gavaskar in India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test

“He batted well, showing good footwork and a very sound temperament, to keep Sri Lanka’s bowlers at bay in difficult conditions. It was the perfect day for a batsman of his tenacious type and his innings might well be the defining moment of the series.” Cheteshwar Pujara’s century could push Rohit Sharma out

Speaking about Pujara’s return to the side, Jayawardene wrote, “Pujara has been kicking his heels on the sidelines during the first two Tests and must have been desperate to make an impression here. He is clearly a quality player ­ you don’t average 56 in first-class cricket unless you are good ­ and the manner in which he responded was very impressive.” The vulnerability of Indian all-rounders

“The end result is that Sri Lanka are under some pressure on a patchy-looking surface that has offered assistance to seamers throughout the first two days. We will have to see how the Indian quicks go, but I think they will be looking forward to Day Three,” he concluded.