Pujara took 54 balls to open his account in the 1st innings of the 3rd South Africa versus India Test.
Johannesburg: Leave, defend, take a blow on the body, leave, defend, take a blow on the body and then keep at it. Cheteshwar Pujara pretty much did that he scored nothing off the first fifty three balls he faced in the first innings of the third and final South Africa versus India Test here on Wednesday.
Like always, he did not look in any hurry and after the twin run-outs in the last Test, he did not seem in any rush to show he has improved his running between the wickets skills. Safety first, runs later was the order of the day for him; more so, after Murali Vijay and KL Rahul failed with the bat at the top.
However, there was no shortage of emotions as Pujara batted. There was a wry smile from him and Virat Kohli, who was batting alongside Pujara, a generous round of applause and laughter from the dressing room and the players, who were sitting in the dug out.
And lest we forget, a solid dose of appreciation, fun, sarcasm and laughter on social media as Pujara went about his business.
Kohli: Is the match going on at an SBI branch?— Swagpur ka Choudhary (@ABChoudhary007) January 24, 2018
Kohli: Then why the hell is it taking you so long to open your account?#SAvIND
Quality 50 by Pujara. What a knock. 0* off 50. pic.twitter.com/QNxDmsKOvN— Srini Mama 💲 (@SriniMama16) January 24, 2018
Pujara costs 75L in IPL, just in case you were wondering! #IndvSA— Retard no more! (@AbhishekJSoni) January 24, 2018
Pujara is like a person who walks into a bank without an Aadhaar number.— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) January 24, 2018
Just can't open his account.
Dressing room scenes when Pujara scored his first run 😂 pic.twitter.com/J2aZEqrvKG— Suresh (@srtxt7) January 24, 2018
Couldn't accuse Pujara of having one eye on the IPL auction! #SAvIND— Paul Dennett (@the_summer_game) January 24, 2018
Pujara, at one point of time, was close to break an Indian record of consuming highest number of balls before opening his account in Test cricket. But he has pushed that record-date for some time later. For the records, Rajesh Chauhan took 57 balls to open his account during the third India versus Sri Lanka Test in Ahmedabad in 1994.
However, as soon as he opened his account on the 54th ball, Pujara could not hold back his smile, Indian dressing room cheered for him and Twitter, like it always does, was on a roll.
Pujara, eventually, scored a gritty fifty as South Africa bundled out India for 187 before losing Aiden Markram.