He struggled in the county game but learned how to bat in English conditions and showed it with a hard-earned hundred
The slow, lazy rhythms of Test cricket feel an unfamiliar music now, when most innings unravel so fast and batsmen are so frantic. But Friday played out the old way. Cheteshwar Pujara, India’s throwback batsman, batted five hours for his first Test century in England. When he finally got it, as the sun was beginning to dip, the crowd rose in a standing ovation. It was not just the score they were clapping but the manner of it. Pujara had done the one thing so few batsmen have seemed able to in this series. He had persisted.
There was only the one lone, loud complaint. “Well,” came a broad Yorkshire accent, “he didn’t bloody bat like this when he was playing for us.” Pujara batted through morning and afternoon, against testing spells of spin and swing and seam, from England’s seven bowlers. He had been working a long time over this score, longer than the hours he was at the crease. Before this series he had played 29 first-class games in England since he came here on India’s last Test tour in 2014, the last six pretty dismally, for Yorkshire earlier in the summer.
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