KOLKATA: India's Test ace Cheteshwar Pujara achieved a rare feat on Monday when he came out to bat with Lokesh Rahul on the final day of the first Test against Sri Lanka.
The in-form Saurashtra man became only the third Indian cricketer, after head coach Ravi Shastri and M.L. Jaisimha to have batted on all five days of a Test match.
While Jaisimha did it against Australia in 1960, scoring 20 not out and 74, Shastri entered the club in 1984 against England scoring 111 and 7.
Jaisimha was also the first ever batsman to achieve the feat. Interestingly, all these three knocks came at the Eden Gardens.
Across the world, nine batsmen have achieved this feat. Besides the three Indians, Geoffrey Boycott (England), Kim Hughes (Australia), Allan Lamb (England), Adrian Griffith (West Indies), Andrew Flintoff (England) and Alviro Peterson (South Africa) are the other cricketers.
On the first day, he was not out on eight (32 balls) while he scored an unbeaten 39 (70 balls) on Day 2. Pujara could manage just five (15 balls) on the third day and two (nine balls) on Day 4.
On the last day, he got out on 22 to a Suranga Lakmal delivery, adding 20 runs to his overnight score of 2. In the first essay, Pujara top-scored for the hosts with a defiant 52 off 117 balls (10x4) before Lahiru Gamage got his back.
The Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) posted a picture of Pujara and Shastri on their Twitter handle congratulating the former who scored a defiant 52 in the first innings to continue his surge as one of the best in the world in the longest version of the game.
Pujara came out to bat on Day 1 of the Test played at the Eden Gardens here and batted in the first session of the second day also before play had to be called off due to inclement weather.
Pujara batted on Day 3 and came out to bat towards the end of the last session of Day 4 after opener Shikhar Dhawan fell six short of his hundred. He was the overnight batsman (2) with Rahul (73) at stumps on the fourth day.
In the last five innings, the 29-year old had scores of 57, 153, 15, 133, and 8.
Pujara showed superb technique on a green Eden Gardens top to quell the threat of seam and swing and grind out his 15th Test 50.