The measure of Cheteshwar Pujara's form and positive mindset these days could be gauged from the knock he played at Rajkot on Monday. Saurashtra, reeling at 23/3 after having taken a 107-run first innings lead, couldn't have opted for a draw against Madhya Pradesh as that would have dashed their hopes of a place in the Ranji Trophy knockout stage.
But thanks to Pujara's double ton, gritty early on and free-flowing later, they're in a position from where they can win the match. He was 203 not out at stumps on the penultimate day. Pujara's first fifty came off 88 balls, the second in 63, the third in 51 and the fourth off just 17 balls.
"He has surely grown in confidence after those big knocks for India," said senior team mate Sitanshu Kotak. "There seems to be extra power in his strokes. His bat speed has certainly increased. I am not surprised. He works constantly on his technique and keeps getting better."
Thanks to the double, Saurashtra had enough time to remove two MP batsmen the last innings.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.