Cheteshwar Pujara, making a comeback to the Indian team after being dropped in the Sydney Test on the Australian Tour, played a gritty yet brilliant innings to register his 7th test hundred in the ongoing test match against Sri Lanka. This was also Pujara’s first hundred versus Sri Lanka, and in the process he became the 4th Indian to carry his bat in test matches. Coincidentally, he also became the 2nd batsman to do it against Sri Lanka.
Let’s have a look at other Indian batsmen who have achieved this feat.
This tour kickstarted India’s poor overseas run under the captaincy of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. India lost the series 4-0, and with it the number 1 ranking in tests. The only silver lining for Indian fans was, the batting of Rahul Dravid. Rahul Dravid first did what he couldn’t during his debut, that is scored a hundred at Lord’s in the first test. Then in the 4th test at Oval, he came out to open because regular opener Gautam Gambhir was suffering from concussion, and he became the 3rd Indian batsman to have carried the bat in the tests. Such was the performance of the famed Indian batting, that had Dravid not batted the way he did, India would have lost all test matches in the series by an innings defeat.
The person who was least expected to be in this list, but yes this would perhaps be mentioned in the Top 5 innings of Virender Sehwag by most. India had lost the first test of the series badly and were battling from the mystery of Ajantha Mendis. Ajantha Mendis had single handedly destroyed India in the final of Asia Cup few months back, and had no answer to the duo of Muttiah Muralidharan and Ajantha Mendis.
But Virender Sehwag in this test match was in one of his murderous moods, where he would destroy any bowler who came on to bowler with no regard to bowler’s prowess, reputation, aura etc. He scored 201* of 231 balls and scored almost 60% of India’s runs as India were dismissed for 329 and scored his 5th double hundred. This innings was also a great testimonials to Sehwag’s quality of being a team man as he refused a single on 199 to shield Ishant Sharma against Muralidharan. India went on to win the match by 170 runs and level the series 1-1.
The first Indian who carried the bat in Tests. Put into bat by Imran Khan, India scored 372 and were all out on the second morning of the Test. Pakistan, in return scored 652 on the back of hundreds from Javed Miandad (126), Zaheer Abbas (168), Saleem Malik (107) and Imran Khan (117) at more than 4.5 rpo. India came out to bat on fourth day with a huge deficit of 280 runs of the first innings and were 48-3 after which Mohinder Amarnath and Sunil Gavaskar shared a partnership of 145 runs. But once Amarnath departed on the 5th morning, Gavaskar was left fighting a lone battle and he remained not out on 127*, while the team was dismissed for 286. Pakistan chased down the target of 7 runs with 10 wickets to spare.