Saurashtra v Karnataka, Ranji Trophy Quarter-Final, 4th day January 9, 2013

Dazzling Pujara finishes off Karnataka's chances

  shares 29

Saurashtra 469 and 463 for 3 (Pujara 261*, Jackson 70*, Jogiyani 70) lead Karnataka 396 (Pandey 177, Uthappa 60) by 536 runs
Scorecard

After the third day's play, both captains had talked about a deteriorating track at the Saurashtra University ground and how it was an open game. Karnataka's leader Stuart Binny had targetted limiting the home team to 150. Cheteshwar Pujara alone scored nearly twice that, and Saurashtra bludgeoned 195 in a breathtaking morning session that put the game beyond Karnataka.

It was Pujara's second consecutive second-innings double-century, and he once again displayed a wide repertoire of strokes that should quell doubts over his ability to flourish in limited-overs cricket. There were 40 fours in his 275-ball 261. With the national selector Rajinder Hans watching, Pujara helped his chances of getting his ODI debut in his hometown in two days' time.

Binny had been disappointed with the way his spinners bowled in the first innings. The second innings was worse. Much worse. All three spinners - KP Appanna, newcomer K Gowtham and part-timer Amit Verma - average above 50 this season, and on the fourth day in Rajkot, it was evident why. None of them could maintain a steady line and length to build pressure, routinely dropping it short or wide or on the pads. It didn't take long for the dressing-room advice to change from barathe barathe [wickets will come) to solpa tight-aage haaku [bowl a little more tightly].

Karnataka gave their fast bowlers only a handful of overs before lunch, relying instead on spin. It proved a costly move, as Sagar Jogiyani and Pujara ripped the slow bowlers apart, with 28 fours and two sixes in the session. So deflated were Karnataka that a few overs before lunch, they turned to the gentle offbreaks of KL Rahul and Binny, who bowled offspin instead of his usual medium-pace as the track was beneficial to the spinners.

Jogiyani was the aggressor in the first hour, regularly slog-sweeping the spinners towards midwicket or guiding them down to fine leg. Pujara get many of his early runs behind the wicket, using deft late cuts or lap-sweeps, one of which sent the ball behind the keeper to the sightscreen. The bigger strokes only came out to the bad balls, like the half-trackers on leg stump that Gowtham served up, which were duly dismissed for leg-side boundaries.

Jogiyani fell after reaching 70, but Pujara once again showed his appetite for large scores. On reaching his century, there was hardly any celebration, just a perfunctory wave of the bat. A Ranji hundred for Pujara is like Lionel Messi scoring one goal in a game. They are just warming up.

As the innings progressed the scoring rate only increased, and he looked to get to his double-century with a shot he hadn't played all innings: a reverse-sweep. He didn't connect properly, prompting some advice from the dressing room, and he got the milestone with a glance behind square leg off the next ball. Soon after, he played three successive reverse-sweeps against Appanna. There had been no sixes in his innings as well till he decided to bring up his 250 with a huge hit over midwicket. It took him only 34 deliveries to go from 200 to 250.

Long before that Karnataka's spirit had faded. There were some bad misfields and some lazy cricket. On one occasion, bowler HS Sharath didn't even realise the throw from the deep wasn't just coming to his end but at him, and noticed it only when his team-mates shouted for him to "watch out", as though he was a bystander at a nets session. Add to that knee injuries to three of their fielders, Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa and Kunal Kapoor.

The only phase in which the bowlers had a bit of a say was just after lunch when Karnataka used both their quicks, with Sharath bowling bouncer after bouncer at Pujara. The batsman was troubled a couple of times early on, nearly gloving a catch to the keeper but was soon back in command. In the next Sharath over, he pulled a short ball for four, then glanced another to fine leg for a boundary before making it a hat-trick with a thrilling upper-cut over the slips. Mithun could be heard advising Sharath to not bowl it short every ball.

Otherwise, it was all Saurashtra. "In my lifetime I have never seen any team score 462 runs in a day," a dejected Karnataka coach J Arunkumar said at stumps, highlighting the utter dominance of the home side.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Naresh28 on January 10, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    YOUNG INDIAN BATSMAN should aspire to be like PUJARA. He is a real gem for Indian cricket. As stated by Nampally, Pujara will hold the Indian middle order together.The selectors need to use him carefully and not burn him out. The other batsman who has not been given enough opportunities is TIWARI. I still feel that India needs to find good TALL batsman when playing on foreign soil.

  • WC2011Champs on January 10, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    Pujara, This is enough. Be selective with Ranji Trophy and domestic games. Stay in touch with competitive cricket but save yourself for Tests and ODIs now. You have already graduated for national duty. Never get into T20 madness. SamRoy, you do not know abcd of cricket if you talk of dropping Raina from ODI team. Raina is no #2 player after Dhoni. Just talking stats. And he looks very different that Rohit.

  • DEV_ME on January 10, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    It is not surprising that Pujara is getting a double, but the manner in which he is getting them ! He is pacing the innings perfectly and astoundingly, manages to change gears at will ! In fact - its scary ! He is the perfect foil for the presently useless Indian Middle Order. No doubt hde has the will to do it and the skills to support the will. On the other hand, whats happening ot Karnatak ? Shouldnt they be seeking the services of former greats - Srinath, Prasad, Kumble, Dravid, etc. ? Its a pathetic display by them .....

  • warnerbasher on January 10, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    Look you have to let me know next year when the Ranji Trophy quarter finals are on so I can jump on the first plane and watch these thrill a minute matches. It appears some pulsating cricket has taken place and how interesting it would have been to watch Saurashtra score 9 for 700 odd and advance to the relative safety of a 780 run lead. Great stuff. Looking at the above scores I don't know how anyone can think cricket in india is about personal achievement rather than team results

  • rohan024 on January 10, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    All those who are going gung ho on Pujara right now, do you even remember how miserably he failed when he played against SA in SA. He is a fine player, by in my opinion no where near international quality as of now. He would do well in india but outside India particularly in Aus and SA, he will struggle big time with his current technique of flicking to fine leg from middle stump, and lack of adequare horizontal shots. When he plays cut, both his feet are in the air, a clear indication that he doesn't read the ball early.

  • realfan on January 10, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    i am sure pujara wont get a chance in this odi series..... and if he is trying to become aggressive in ranji just because he got odi call up, i think he is just making a big mistake.... no doubt he is player to anchor india in test,and he needs to settle down in test , after all he has got chance in test pretty quickly without warming benches unlike RAHANE, TIWARY... i would like to see him only as a test batsman atleast until 2014 england tour of india.....

    and if hes he wise enough he will keep himself away from USELESS IPL......

    al the best for pujara.....

  • SamRoy on January 10, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    I agree with Nampally. Pujara is the classiest of all Indian batsman and must be there in ODIs(If Raina or Jadeja needs dropping for that game, drop them). He can be our Hashim Amla and others can play around him. But selectors should never pick him for T20s where useless players like Yusuf Pathan's and Richard Levi's hog the limelight.

  • amarnath79 on January 10, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    Jiwanjot of Punjab: 916 runs in 9 matches. 5 hundreds, including a double-hundred. Why is he not in the Indian team?

  • Punjami on January 10, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    Pooji continue your good work against the POMS.

  • Nampally on January 10, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    @Cricketfan101: Pujara is the most complete batsman in India today. India needs a sheet anchor in the top 5 because there is no one to hold one end up like Pujara. Test cricket & ODI are closest in format except ODI needs slightly higher S/R. Tendulkar & Dravid became better Test player once they started ODI. So pujara can focus on Test & also play ODI. He has been scoring double centuries at a S/R of 94. Which batsman in India can match this S/R apart from Sehwag at his best? I see in Pujara India's batting Legend of the future. His game will only be tarnished by playing T-20 (not ODI), from which he should be banned. Dhoni's XI selection is crazy but if he benches Pujara, this Indian team has ZERO reliability in Batting. Unlike Pujara, Rohit sharma's batting technique is anything but sound. Tiwary is other guy who I like & will be other sound batsman. Dropping Pujara for Pak ODI's after averaging 87 against England in 4 Tests was the worst decision in modern cricket history!

  • Naresh28 on January 10, 2013, 6:34 GMT

    YOUNG INDIAN BATSMAN should aspire to be like PUJARA. He is a real gem for Indian cricket. As stated by Nampally, Pujara will hold the Indian middle order together.The selectors need to use him carefully and not burn him out. The other batsman who has not been given enough opportunities is TIWARI. I still feel that India needs to find good TALL batsman when playing on foreign soil.

  • WC2011Champs on January 10, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    Pujara, This is enough. Be selective with Ranji Trophy and domestic games. Stay in touch with competitive cricket but save yourself for Tests and ODIs now. You have already graduated for national duty. Never get into T20 madness. SamRoy, you do not know abcd of cricket if you talk of dropping Raina from ODI team. Raina is no #2 player after Dhoni. Just talking stats. And he looks very different that Rohit.

  • DEV_ME on January 10, 2013, 3:58 GMT

    It is not surprising that Pujara is getting a double, but the manner in which he is getting them ! He is pacing the innings perfectly and astoundingly, manages to change gears at will ! In fact - its scary ! He is the perfect foil for the presently useless Indian Middle Order. No doubt hde has the will to do it and the skills to support the will. On the other hand, whats happening ot Karnatak ? Shouldnt they be seeking the services of former greats - Srinath, Prasad, Kumble, Dravid, etc. ? Its a pathetic display by them .....

  • warnerbasher on January 10, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    Look you have to let me know next year when the Ranji Trophy quarter finals are on so I can jump on the first plane and watch these thrill a minute matches. It appears some pulsating cricket has taken place and how interesting it would have been to watch Saurashtra score 9 for 700 odd and advance to the relative safety of a 780 run lead. Great stuff. Looking at the above scores I don't know how anyone can think cricket in india is about personal achievement rather than team results

  • rohan024 on January 10, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    All those who are going gung ho on Pujara right now, do you even remember how miserably he failed when he played against SA in SA. He is a fine player, by in my opinion no where near international quality as of now. He would do well in india but outside India particularly in Aus and SA, he will struggle big time with his current technique of flicking to fine leg from middle stump, and lack of adequare horizontal shots. When he plays cut, both his feet are in the air, a clear indication that he doesn't read the ball early.

  • realfan on January 10, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    i am sure pujara wont get a chance in this odi series..... and if he is trying to become aggressive in ranji just because he got odi call up, i think he is just making a big mistake.... no doubt he is player to anchor india in test,and he needs to settle down in test , after all he has got chance in test pretty quickly without warming benches unlike RAHANE, TIWARY... i would like to see him only as a test batsman atleast until 2014 england tour of india.....

    and if hes he wise enough he will keep himself away from USELESS IPL......

    al the best for pujara.....

  • SamRoy on January 10, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    I agree with Nampally. Pujara is the classiest of all Indian batsman and must be there in ODIs(If Raina or Jadeja needs dropping for that game, drop them). He can be our Hashim Amla and others can play around him. But selectors should never pick him for T20s where useless players like Yusuf Pathan's and Richard Levi's hog the limelight.

  • amarnath79 on January 10, 2013, 3:12 GMT

    Jiwanjot of Punjab: 916 runs in 9 matches. 5 hundreds, including a double-hundred. Why is he not in the Indian team?

  • Punjami on January 10, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    Pooji continue your good work against the POMS.

  • Nampally on January 10, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    @Cricketfan101: Pujara is the most complete batsman in India today. India needs a sheet anchor in the top 5 because there is no one to hold one end up like Pujara. Test cricket & ODI are closest in format except ODI needs slightly higher S/R. Tendulkar & Dravid became better Test player once they started ODI. So pujara can focus on Test & also play ODI. He has been scoring double centuries at a S/R of 94. Which batsman in India can match this S/R apart from Sehwag at his best? I see in Pujara India's batting Legend of the future. His game will only be tarnished by playing T-20 (not ODI), from which he should be banned. Dhoni's XI selection is crazy but if he benches Pujara, this Indian team has ZERO reliability in Batting. Unlike Pujara, Rohit sharma's batting technique is anything but sound. Tiwary is other guy who I like & will be other sound batsman. Dropping Pujara for Pak ODI's after averaging 87 against England in 4 Tests was the worst decision in modern cricket history!

  • tanxi on January 9, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    @Cricketfan101, Pujara is not like Rahane whom is categorised as a hot prospect. Pujara is genuinely a class batsmen and should feature in both formats. If you watch him play, he picks up length early, times the ball well so he would be perfect. He can play through the innings whilst other bat around him.

    Tiwary has a lot of competition around him in the middle order. Kohli, Yuvraj, Raina, Dhoni. That is one of the finest around. It has a perfect mix. Then its between, Tiwary or Jadeja. From which Jadeja probably gets in cause of bowling. to 6batsmen, 1Allrounder ,4 bowler (Ashwin).

  • tanxi on January 9, 2013, 21:23 GMT

    I wouldn't categorise Pujara as a youngster any more. He is simply a class batsmen.

    There is an abundance of talented young batsmen in the domestic circuit. It's very pleasing to see. The list is endless

    It would be great if a few bowlers burst onto the scenes. B Kumar and Ahmed look great so far but I mean bowlers who can achieve legend statuses in future like Kumble, Bhaji(To an extent).

  • TM on January 9, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    Is there another day in this match?

  • Street_Hawk on January 9, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    Pujara has proved that he is head and shoulders above the rest of the young batsmen...I would definitely want to see him in ODIs...it'll be better, however, if he does not play much of T20 bullshit

  • Cricketfan101 on January 9, 2013, 19:21 GMT

    @Nampally I don't want to start an argument but don't you think Pujara should concrete on test cricket first i just want to get your opinion on that? In the earlier post i said that he will probably get benched for about 20 games like what Dhoni has done with players like Tiwary,Rahul Sharma and currently with Rahane.

  • ROXSPORT on January 9, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    Looks like a good prospect, CM Gowtham. Should get a look-in.

  • Batmanindallas on January 9, 2013, 17:28 GMT

    Pujara should come in for Kohli

  • TNAmarkFromIndia on January 9, 2013, 17:24 GMT

    ashok16, You're kidding, right? Playing for India in ANY format is always a bigger honour than playing a domestic game. The only reason you would think otherwise is if you were from Saurashtra yourself. Tough luck, but the interests of the country comes before that of the state.

  • Nampally on January 9, 2013, 17:20 GMT

    @cricketfan101: You must be the opposition Fan! Pujara is a world class batsman. If he does not make the XI, the Selectors' heads need to be examined. I predict he will lead Indian Test team very soon. Pujara has better Test average(58) than even the legendary Tendulkar at this stage of their careers - after 9 tests. Please get Real!

  • bleedblue777 on January 9, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    Conratulations Pujara keep up the good work!!

  • ashok16 on January 9, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    I just wish Pujara werent selected for the ODIs. A Ranji trophy win for Saurashtra is way more important than a few random ODIs for India.

  • rohan024 on January 9, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Stuart binny who after 10 yrs of first class cricket has 6 centuries and 68 wkts to his name is captaining karnataka is a real shame and shows how administrators kids ruin Indian cricket. Robin uthapa, Manish pandey in the team, yet captain is jnr binny.

  • ShashidharHundi on January 9, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    Though a big fan of Karnataka team, I must say, this year Karnataka did not show the kind of performance they showed for the last few years. This year none of the batsmen scored consistantly except Gautham. Pavan, Ganesh Sathish & Amit Verma disappointed. Manish Pandey need to show more consistancy if he really want to progress to next level. Vinay's absence also had a big impact on the team's performance. Most importantly as the Indian team is suffering due to lack of quality spinners, Karantaka is also suffering. Appanna's performance was really poor throughout the season. You have enough time to get prepared for the next season. Good luck....

  • Cricketfan101 on January 9, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    @Nampally get over it okay the selecters made a mistake at least they selected him for the england series and too be honest he probaly wont make the team the managment is he will probaly get benched for about 20 games

  • Nampally on January 9, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    261 runs at a S/R of 94 - What an innings by Pujara! Yet he was calmly overlooked for the Pakistan ODI's by the Indian Selectors to the detriment of India. How can a guy who had averaged 87 against England just a week before the Pakistan series be dropped? What were the Selectors thinking or were they thinking at all? The series loss to Pakistan could have been 3-0 win for India with Pujara in XI. Even now some people are commenting as though Pujara may not make the XI !

  • Dashku on January 9, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    Congrats poojara. Anyways Karnataka were not in any position to go to semis, by chance they entered quarters. No steady performance from batsmen at all. Blaming bowlers wont help. I am a bangalorean and feel, this season team was not up to the mark.

  • on January 9, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    willing to see u in final 11 of ODI's against england

  • KishorKumar25 on January 9, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    Bad luck karnataka, Pujara was the difference. Hope selectors will look into the profile of CM Goutham, though we didnt make it to semis

  • SP68 on January 9, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    GO pujara gooooo at english. this is your time now and help India recover the pride

  • SP68 on January 9, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    GO pujara gooooo at english. this is your time now and help India recover the pride

  • KishorKumar25 on January 9, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    Bad luck karnataka, Pujara was the difference. Hope selectors will look into the profile of CM Goutham, though we didnt make it to semis

  • on January 9, 2013, 14:01 GMT

    willing to see u in final 11 of ODI's against england

  • Dashku on January 9, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    Congrats poojara. Anyways Karnataka were not in any position to go to semis, by chance they entered quarters. No steady performance from batsmen at all. Blaming bowlers wont help. I am a bangalorean and feel, this season team was not up to the mark.

  • Nampally on January 9, 2013, 14:46 GMT

    261 runs at a S/R of 94 - What an innings by Pujara! Yet he was calmly overlooked for the Pakistan ODI's by the Indian Selectors to the detriment of India. How can a guy who had averaged 87 against England just a week before the Pakistan series be dropped? What were the Selectors thinking or were they thinking at all? The series loss to Pakistan could have been 3-0 win for India with Pujara in XI. Even now some people are commenting as though Pujara may not make the XI !

  • Cricketfan101 on January 9, 2013, 15:06 GMT

    @Nampally get over it okay the selecters made a mistake at least they selected him for the england series and too be honest he probaly wont make the team the managment is he will probaly get benched for about 20 games

  • ShashidharHundi on January 9, 2013, 15:51 GMT

    Though a big fan of Karnataka team, I must say, this year Karnataka did not show the kind of performance they showed for the last few years. This year none of the batsmen scored consistantly except Gautham. Pavan, Ganesh Sathish & Amit Verma disappointed. Manish Pandey need to show more consistancy if he really want to progress to next level. Vinay's absence also had a big impact on the team's performance. Most importantly as the Indian team is suffering due to lack of quality spinners, Karantaka is also suffering. Appanna's performance was really poor throughout the season. You have enough time to get prepared for the next season. Good luck....

  • rohan024 on January 9, 2013, 16:47 GMT

    Stuart binny who after 10 yrs of first class cricket has 6 centuries and 68 wkts to his name is captaining karnataka is a real shame and shows how administrators kids ruin Indian cricket. Robin uthapa, Manish pandey in the team, yet captain is jnr binny.

  • ashok16 on January 9, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    I just wish Pujara werent selected for the ODIs. A Ranji trophy win for Saurashtra is way more important than a few random ODIs for India.

  • bleedblue777 on January 9, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    Conratulations Pujara keep up the good work!!