Pujara’s maiden ton lifts India to 307/5
Cheteshwar Pujara dominated the Indian batting with an unbeaten 119 as they finished at 307/5 on Day 1 of the first Test against New Zealand at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Pujara shared an unbeaten 47-run stand with skipper MS Dhoni (29*) to survive the last half an hour of the day after Kiwis took the new ball.
Pujara notched up his maiden Test hundred to lead Indian first innings. Pujara, who played his last Test in January 2011, made a remarkablecomeback to Test cricket. Pujara smacked 14 boundaries and a six in his century knock that came in 169 balls.
India suffered another blow in quick succession after losing Virat Kohli when Kiwi spinner Jeetan Patel struck to dismiss Suresh Raina and reduced India to 260/5.
Pujara held the one end after being promoted to number three and added 125 runs with Virat Kohli for the fourth wicket to frustrate the visitors.
Chris Martin broke the crucial century stand by dismissing Kohli to give New Zealand much needed breakthrough soon after the tea.
Kohli complimented his partner by scoring a half-century to consolidate India against the Kiwis. He reached his fourth Test fifty in 79 balls, smashing seven boundaries.
India were 182/3 at tea with Pujara and Kohli going well. Pujara hit a patient half-century to steady the Indian first innings.
Pujara’s second Test fifty came after Trent Boult clean bowled Sachin Tendulkar with a superbdelivery.
The delivery came in sharply and stayed a little low to sneak through the gap between bat and pad to uproot the middle stump.
India went to lunch at 97/2 with Pujara and Tendulkar at the crease on 12.
Doug Bracewell gave New Zealand the second breakthrough when he had Virender Sehwag caught by Martin Guptill at second slip.
Sehwag hit 9 fours in his 41-ball 47 before falling to Bracewell.
India lost their first wicket when Trent Boult induced an edge off Gautam Gambhir’s bat.
Gambhir (22) tried to play the ball down to third man without moving his feet and ended up giving a simple catch to keeper Kruger van Wyk.
Earlier, Indian captain MS Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat.