Rajkot: Cheteshwar Pujara took the centre-stage with a dazzling 189 (182b, 31x4) against Punjab on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Super League match at the Race Course Ground on Tuesday. At stumps, the host finished the day on 405 for four.
Sitanshu Kotak, the host’s backbone for several years, also made a useful century. The home team thrived on the third-wicket stand, which produced 258 runs in four hours and five minutes.
With his majestic driving, cutting and deft stroke-play, Pujara collared an attack that had two seamers of some reputation — Gagandeep Singh and Manpreet Gony — and off-spinner Charanjit Singh.
As usual, Kotak (102, 400m, 287b, 5x4s) played a defensive role and turned out to be an ideal foil for the young champion performer.
Pujara, once he read the pitch well, stepped down, picked the gap between mid-on and mid-wicket and whipped an on-drive with the spin of Charanjit.
Showing fine footwork, he deployed himself to execute a variety of strokes on either side of the wicket.
Punjab — 1st innings: 482.
Saurashtra — 1st innings: K. Waghela lbw b Gangandeep 16, B. Chauhan lbw b Khanna 45, S. Kotak c Kaul b Charanjit 102, C. Pujara lbw b Gony 189, R. Jadeja (batting) 16, J. Shah (batting) 26. Extras (b-1, lb-4, nb-6) 11, Total (for four wkts. in 121 overs) 405.
Fall of wickets: 1-44, 2-95, 3-353, 4-370.
Punjab bowling: Gagandeep 23-10-43-1, Gony 29-10-73-1, Khanna 27-3-97-1, Charanjit 31-6-112-1, Kakkar 9-1-51-0, Kohli 2-0-24-0.
Other scores: Super League (third day): At Ahmedabad: Gujarat 520 vs Hyderabad 225 (S.A. Pai 40, S.A. Quadri 57, S. K. Trivedi four for 44) & 45 for three.
At Mysore: Karnataka 366 & 171 (R. Dravid 50, D.P. Vijayakumar six for 51) vs Andhra 218 (V.M. Sai 70, M. Suresh 54, S. Joshi five for 41).
At Sambalpur: Orissa 281 & 109 for three (S.S. Das 57 batting) vs Rajasthan 270 (G. Khoda 127, R. Bist 43, Dhiraj Singh seven for 83).
Plate Division: At Margao: Goa 190 & 256 (A. Katkar 76, S.B. Jakati 49 batting, S.K. Roy four for 75) vs Jharkhand 147 & 53 for four.
At Palakkad: Kerala 334 & 35 for no loss vs Haryana 581 for four decl. (R. Dewan 254 not out, Sunny Singh 124, Sumeet Sharma 114).
At Agartala: Vidarbha 224 & 203 (R.S. Paradkar 50. S.K. Srivatsava 49, J. Debnath four for 54, T.S. Saha four for 65) vs Tripura 150 (M.S. Acharya four for 23).
At Kolkata: Services 107 & 109 (D. Israni 40, A.B. Dinda four for 28) vs Bengal 442 for six. Bengal 6, Services 0.