Pujara becomes second Indian to score double-century in County Championship
Indian top-order batter Cheteshwar Pujara has become only the second Indian to score a double-century in the County Championship (Division 2), England's premier First-class tournament. Pujara equaled the record of former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin while playing for Sussex against Derbyshire. His unbeaten double-ton (201*) came while following-on. Pujara's teammate Tom Haines too slammed a double-century in the same innings.
- Before this match, Azharuddin was the only Indian to have slammed a double-century in the County Championship.
- He reached this mark twice, scoring 212 against Leicestershire in 1991 and 205 against Durham in 1994.
- Both these knocks came for Derbyshire.
- As per ESPNcricinfo, Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi too had four County double-hundreds.
- However, he was a Test cricketer for England back then.
Derbyshire slammed a mammoth 505/8d after electing to bat first. Shan Masood registered a double-century (239), while Wayne Madsen smashed 111. Sussex received a follow-on after getting bowled out on 174. Pujara and Haines saved Sussex from sinking in the second innings. They shared a 351-run stand, having completed their double-centuries. Sussex recorded 513/3 before the two teams shook hands.
As per ESPNcricinfo, Pujara (201*) and Haines (243) have become the first pair to score double-centuries in the same First-class innings while following-on. They are also the first pair with double-tons in the same First-class innings for Sussex since 1921.
Pujara scored his 14th double-century in First-class cricket, the most by an Asian player. The Indian surpassed Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara, who had 13 double-centuries to his name in the format. Pujara is behind only eight other batters in terms of FC double-centuries. Australian maestro Donald Bradman tops the list with 37 of them. Pujara has the most FC double-centuries among active players.
Pujara reached the triple-figure mark for the first time in 52 First-class innings. His last First-class ton came in January 2020 (248 against Karnataka). Between these two innings, Pujara averaged just 30.36 in the format. Pujara registered his last Test century in January 2019 (193 against Australia at the SCG). He was dropped from the Indian squad for the Sri Lanka Test series.
According to ESPNcricinfo, Pujara now has the most number of FC double-centuries since the start of the 21st century. His 201* is the highest individual score on FC debut for Sussex (previous-highest: 152 by Joe Gatting against Cambridge, 2009). Pujara, Masood, and Haines scored double-tons in the match, making it only the third County Championship match to feature three double-centurions.