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Cheteshwar Pujara plays 54 balls to get off the mark

Even after all the hard work, Pujara couldn't set the Indian Test record for most balls faced to get off the mark.

Cheteshwar Pujara | CricTracker.com
Cheteshwar Pujara. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Not often a batsman decides to play out deliveries even without getting off the mark but Cheteshwar Pujara sticked to this plan in the very first session of a Test match. Coming into the final Test match of the series against South Africa, India elected to bat first on the greenish pitch at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Pujara arrived at the crease inside the first 15 minutes after they lost KL Rahul for a duck. However, Pujara had a long wait to open his account after he was troubled by South Africa’s 4-men pace attack.

The Indian No.3 batsman didn’t have greatest of times in South Africa as he became the first Indian to be dismissed run out in both the innings of a Test match and the first player in nearly 18 years in the 2nd Test in Centurion. Coming into this Test, Pujara aggregated only 49 runs across the four innings in this series. Playing out the deliveries cautiously, Pujara survived two LBW appeals; one of them not reviewed by the home side while the other turned out to be umpire’s call.

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Nearly an Indian record.

After running a couple of leg byes, Pujara finally ran one for getting off the mark in the innings on the 54th delivery he faced. With the single towards the on-side off Lungi Ngidi, Pujara ended his wait for a run that spanned about 80 minutes. Even after all the hard work, Pujara couldn’t set the Indian Test record for most balls faced to get off the mark. Rajesh Chauhan opened his account after 84 minutes (on the 57th ball he faced) in the 1994 Ahmedabad Test match against Sri Lanka.

The overall record in the Test cricket is held by England’s John Murray, who scored his first runs approximately on the 80th ball he faced (after 74 minutes) in the 1963 Sydney Test match against Australia. In the terms of time span, Stuart Broad needed 103 minutes in the 2013 Auckland Test match against New Zealand before he opened his account facing 62 dots.

Pujara emulates Ravi Shastri.

The current Indian coach Ravi Shastri holds the Indian record for most consecutive deliveries faced without scoring a run in an innings in the Test format. Shastri batted out without scoring for 89 minutes when on nine runs in the 2nd innings of the 1992 Test match against South Africa also played at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. Shastri batted 68 consecutive dot deliveries when he was batting on nine for 89 minutes.

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