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Friday, December 4, 2020
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Solid Pujara, gutsy Gambhir power India Blue to 362/3
Greater Noida: Under pressure to retain his place in the Test XI, Cheteshwar Pujara overshadowed Rohit Sharma by scoring a solid hundred as India Blue made full use of a placid track to amass 362/3 against India Red on the first day of the Duleep Trophy final here.
The other significant contributor on Saturday was skipper Gautam Gambhir with a gutsy 94 off 145 balls. On a track devoid of grass, Pujara dominated the bowling in his unbeaten 111 off 164 balls, which was laced with 15 boundaries. En route his second ton after 166 in the earlier match, Pujara also completed 10,000 runs in first-class cricket. With Rohit again effortlessly reaching 30 before playing a poor shot, Pujara definitely made a case for himself and gave enough reasons to skipper Virat Kohli to ponder on the playing XI for the Kanpur Test against New Zealand.
Pujara played some delightful shots square off the wicket -- a square cut off Stuart Binny and a back drive off Nathu Singh standing out.
He reached his 33rd first-class ton with a cover driven boundary off Binny. Not a single Red team bowler could trouble the 'Rajkot Run Machine' who not only presented a tight defence but also attacked the bowling at will.
While Rohit's indiscretion after a 66-run stand cost him his wicket, Pujara did not let his guard down. This enabled Dinesh Karthik to play his natural attacking game as he remained unbeaten on 55 off 68 balls with eight boundaries. He has added 120 runs for unbroken fourth-wicket stand with Pujara.
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