New Delhi: Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay had ripped up record books on Sunday by compiling an unbroken partnership of 294 for the second wicket and on Monday, they went a step further and registered a few more records against their names.
Pujara has been hailed as the "next big thing" of Indian cricket ever since he started playing competitive cricket. His ability to pile up mammoth scores impressed one and all. He blasted a triple-century in Under-14 cricket, which is a rarity, and went onto score a couple more triples for Saurashtra's U-22 team. His debut first-class triple-century came against Orissa in the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy and he was rewarded with a place in the Indian Test team the following year.
Pujara scored a fine 72 in the second innings of his debut Test as India chased down a target of 207 against Australia. Following a knee injury, Pujara returned in August 2012 and scored a brilliant 159 against New Zealand in his first Test for two years. An unbeaten 206 followed against England - on the back of Ranji innings of 203 and 352 - to vindicate that his massive scores in first-class cricket were no fluke.
Pujara's conversion rate is excellent - four Test hundreds and one half-century - and out of his four centuries, three have been in excess of 150. On Monday, he reached 1000 runs in just 18 innings, thus becoming the second-fastest Indian batsman to do so behind Vinod Kambli (14 innings). But it is worth mentioning that Kambli scored his runs against substandard England, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka attacks. While England were at their lowest ebb in the early 90s, Sri Lanka were yet to become a team to reckon with and Zimbabwe were Test greenhorns. When India played against West Indies at home in 1994, Kambli was found out and made just 64 runs in three Tests. Pujara can take a lesson from Kambli's career in that sturdy temperament and implacable composure are as essential as talent to carve out a long-standing career.
Vijay became the first batsman from Tamil Nadu to notch up a score of 150-plus in Tests. The previous best score belonged to Sadagoppan Ramesh, who made 143 against Sri Lanka at Colombo. With his 167, Vijay also became the 16th India opener to score over 150 in Tests. Interestingly, he is among a very few number of Indians who have been a part of two 300-plus partnerships. Rahul Dravid was a part of four while VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar did so thrice. Vijay has drawn level with Virender Sehwag.
The last time Vijay scored a Test hundred, against Australia at Bangalore in 2010, he and Tendulkar (214) added 308 for the third wicket. Both of Vijay's centuries have resulted into 300-plus partnerships which is a magnificent record.
The 370-run partnership between Pujara and Vijay is the highest ever for India for the second wicket, and second best for any wicket against Australia after Laxman and Dravid's marathon 376 for the fifth wicket at Kolkata in 2001. Further, this is the second-highest partnership for the second wicket by any opposition against Australia after Len Hutton and Maurice Leyland's 382-run stand at The Oval in 1938.
In the list of all-time highest partnerships for any wicket for India, Pujara and Vijay stand at fourth place. The highest partnership belongs to Vinoo Mankad and Pankaj Roy who added 413 for the first wicket against New Zealand at Chennai in 1956.
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