Cheteshwar Pujara brushed out the cobwebs and returned to run-scoring ways with a fine century for Nottinghamshire on Friday (May 26) at Trent Bridge in only his second game in the County Championship Division Two.
Nottinghampshire’s decision to replace James Pattinson (the paceman was a late inclusion in Australia’s Champions Trophy-bound squad) with a batsman raised some eyebrows, but Pujara allayed concerns by scoring his 39th first-class century to guide his side to 357 for 5 from 96 overs against Gloucestershire at the end of day one of the four-day contest.
Pujara was dismissed by Craig Miles for 112 from 206 balls. He struck 14 boundaries and was involved in a crucial 185-run partnership with Michael Lumb (117) for the fourth wicket.
With this innings, Pujara’s first-class tally went up to 11,962 and the average climbed towards 60 from 147 matches.
Signed for four matches – two against Gloucestershire and one against Glamorgan and Derbyshire, Pujara started his season with just two runs coming against Glamorgan.
Ignored at the Indian Premier League auctions for the third consecutive year, the call from Nottinghamshire was a godsend for Pujara with 50-over cricket India’s focus for the next month. It is his third county after Debyshire and Yorkshire, and he has averaged more then 50 during both of his previous stints – in 2014 and 2015.
Pujara finished India’s domestic season with 1316 runs at 62.66, which included two centuries against England on their November-December tour. Pujara’s next assignment for the Indian Test side will come against Sri Lanka in August where the sides will lock horns in three Tests.