On Friday, November 3, Cheteshwar Pujara scored his 12th First-Class double century, beating the legendary player, Vijay Merchant. Pujara scored 204 runs from 355 balls for Saurashtra against Jharkhand in the ongoing season of Ranji Trophy. With this new record, the 29-year-old beat Merchant to become the batsman with the most number of double hundreds in First-Class cricket for India.
Merchant is one of the three batsmen to score a century against England in the pre-Independence era. In the list of most First-Class double centuries by Indians, Merchant is followed by Sunil Gavaskar, Rahul Dravid and Vijay Hazare who have 10 double tons to their names. The tally of 12 double tons of Pujara includes 3 in Test cricket. The world record for most number of double centuries in First-Class cricket is held by Australia’s batting legend Sir Don Bradman (37 double centuries).
Pujara was going through a rough phase in the longest version of the game. His stint in the County Cricket was not very impressive as he could only score 110 runs in 7 innings for Nottinghamshire. Ranji Trophy season 2017-18 was not fruitful for the right-handed batsman either as managed 35 and 13 against Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir respectively.
Pujara’s double century got Saurashtra in a commanding position against Jharkhand. They scored 553 for 9 and declared the first innings. Pujara anchored the Jharkhand innings and shared vital partnerships with Ravindra Jadeja, Prerak Mankad and Chirag Saini. Pujara’s was the 9th wicket in the innings. Jharkhand are currently trailing by 446 runs having lost 4 wickets in the first innings.
Pujara returned to his form just in time. He has been retained in India’s Test squad. India are scheduled to play against Sri Lanka in a three-Test series starting November 16. In the previous Test series when India toured Sri Lanka Pujara scored 2 centuries (153, 133).