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Cheteshwar Pujara scores double century to win over Middlesex

Sussex batsman Cheteshwar Pujara scored his third double century this season, his fifth century overall, against Middlesex to help Sussex win the LV= Insurance County Championship.

During his five innings, Pujara faced 399 balls and hit 21 fours and three sixes. He became the first player in Sussex’s 118 years to score double centuries in a season. The last batter to achieve 200 at the home of cricket was Colonel H.H. Shri Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji II.

The 34-year-old earned Sussex a total of 523 runs after he was asked to perform the first bat. Teammate Umesh Yadav returned with figures of 0/70 from 29 overs for Middlesex.

In the absence of Tom Haines, Pujara played as captain. He was joined by Tom Alsop, who added 119 runs for the third wicket. Both of them received a third-wicket partnership of 219 before Tom Help stuck late by dismissing Alsop and Archie Lenham in the space of four balls. After Alsop was dismissed, Sussex began losing wickets until Pujara stood in the centre.

"Cheteshwar Pujara has been named interim captain for Sussex following the news that Tom Haines will be out for around 5-6 weeks after breaking a bone in his hand whilst batting against Leicestershire last week," said Sussex in a statement.

Shortly after, he completed his third century, playing many great shots on the field. He has scored 231 runs for his team, with an average of 138.00.

Over the course of 10 innings against Middlesex, Pujara scored 6, 201, 109, 12, 203, 16, 170, 3, 46, and 100 runs.

Playing for Sussex

Pujara had played county cricket before the Indian team went on a tour in England. He joined the Indian team when India was winning against England at Edgbaston. However, he failed to make a big score in the Edgbaston Test. Eventually, the Indian team lost two games, with the test series ending in a 2-2 draw.

He began his career with Sussex with a double century against Derbyshire and followed it up with another century against Durham. In May, he had an unbeaten hit record of 170 against Middlesex, which helped him get a call to the Indian Test team. Earlier, he was dropped for the home series against Sri Lanka.

He was appointed to lead Sussex after Haines entered the injured list for at least 5-6 weeks due to an injury. Sussex head coach Ian Salisbury said that Pujara had leadership qualities ever since he joined the team. He has been very eager to step up as captain, replacing Steven Finn, who previously led the team during Haines’ absence.

“Puj was very keen to step up in the absence of Tom, he sees the potential in this side and has been a natural leader ever since he joined,” Salisbury said of Pujara.

“Finny did a brilliant job for us after Tom was injured and will remain the senior figure among our bowlers. By having a batter take up the role it means Finn can focus on leading our attack. Puj is a vastly experienced and qualified person who I know will do a fantastic job."

Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.