Cheteshwar Pujara made a sensational return to the Indian team, slamming his seventh hundred leading a defiant fight for India in the third and final Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club in Colombo. After their in-form batsmen KL Rahul, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli failed to fire, Pujara took charge and ensured India were not humiliated in the first innings on a seaming track. (Day 2 Blog | Scorecard)
Pujara reached his hundred off 214 balls, studded with nine boundaries.
Pujara, who last played for India against Australia in Melbourne, missed out in Sydney, Fatullah, Galle and the second Test against the Lankans at the P. Sara Oval. This was Pujara’s first match with Kohli as full-time captain. After being overlooked for the better part of a year, Pujara walked in because of injuries to regulars Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan. Having been asked to open, the Saurashtra batsman took responsibility and led a brilliant counterattack despite India losing top-order batsmen at the other end.
The right-handed Pujara looked solid in defence but failed to rotate the strike and only found his scoring touch when Mathews introduced off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal into the attack.
He hit Kaushal for three consecutive boundaries and then completed his fifty with a pull shot for a single to mid-wicket.