London, July 21: Cheteshwar Pujara struck his third double century of the season for Sussex while pacer Navdeep Saini claimed a five-wicket haul on debut for Kent as Indian players continued to shine in County Cricket in England.
Pujara got his name etched in the Sussex history books as he compiled a brilliant 231 as it helped them post a massive 523 in their first innings against Middlesex at Lord’s on Wednesday.
Right-arm fast Saini made a sparkling debut for Kent against Warwickshire on Wednesday taking 5-72 at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Playing for Middlesex, fellow Indian pacer Umesh Yadav went wicket-less in Sussex’s first innings as he ended with figures of 0-70 in 29 overs.
Pujara, The India Test player became the first Sussex batter to make a double-century against Middlesex at Lord’s. The last Sussex batter to achieve 200 at the home of cricket was countryman Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji II while playing against the MCC 125 years ago, according to a report in ESPNCricinfo. Earlier, he had scored unbeaten 201 in the first match against Derby and 203 against Durham. This was his 16th double century in first-class cricket.
Pujara, who is leading the side in the absence of their regular skipper, batted for nearly nine hours most of those in torturous conditions on Tuesday as whose marathon effort had begun 24 hours earlier during London’s hottest day on record, batted almost nine hours before being last out, having steered his side to 523 – so eclipsing Sussex’s previous best score at Lord’s of 522 set in 2005.
During his 231-run knock, Pujara faced 403 deliveries, hitting 21 fours and three sixes. In all, his stay at the wicket lasted 533 minutes.
He was subdued at the start of the day, obviously fatigued by his exertions the previous day and went on to add 68 runs with Danial Ibrahim, 17, as Sussex recovered from losing two early wickets and slumping to 346/6.
The 34-year-old Pujara had another fruitful partnership with Greek international Aristides Karvelas as he reached 150 in 400 minutes. As Karvelas blocked one end, Pujara went on a run-scoring spree as greeted the return of Hollman by hoisting him into the Compton Stand. He got a life at 175 when John Simpson, standing up to the stumps to Tim Murtagh, failed to hold on to a thin edge.
There were no nervous 190s as he twice in an over-drove Murtagh through mid-off for four before a single dropped into the on-side helped him complete his double century.
Pujara hit another six before getting out for 231, holing out to Mark Stoneman off Tom Helm, who ended 5-109.
Saini was equally in devastating form as he returned with figures of 5-72 from 18 overs. His victims included Chris Benjamin, Dan Mousley, Michael Burgess, Henry Brooks and Craig Miles. His fifer helped Kent bowl out Warwickshire for 225 in 85.1 overs. Saini, 29, also ended up bowling 14 no-balls.