Cheteshwar Pujara’s poor form continued on Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test in Centurion against South Africa, when he was removed for a golden duck. In the second session at Supersport Park, Pujara was caught at short leg by Lungi Ngidi as the star batter made the long walk back.
With his 9th duck at No. 3 in Tests, Pujara broke Dilip Vengsarkar’s record of 8 ducks while batting at No. 3 for India. It was also Pujara’s second golden duck in the longest version of the game, with the first coming at the same location in South Africa three years ago.
In Tests, India has the most ducks at No. 3.
Pujara – 9 ducks
Vengsarkar – 8 ducks
Rahul Dravid – 7 ducks
Mohinder Amarnath – 6 ducks
Ajit Wadekar – 5 ducks
Pujara had no time to relax into his innings when Lungi Ngidi’s opening delivery bounced a little higher than usual. Before lobbing up in the air, the ball hit the pad and then the pad. Keegan Pietersen, a substitute fielder, dived forward to make a great catch. Lungi Ngidi took two wickets in as many deliveries, breaking a 117-run opening stand by LBWing Mayank Agarwal. He then took Pujara off as South Africa re-entered the game following a slow start with the ball. On a cloudy morning in Centurion on Sunday, Virat Kohli won the toss and chose to bat.
Pujara is under pressure to keep his spot in Test XI since he hasn’t scored a century in the longest format of the game in 42 innings, which is a record for batsmen at No. 3 in India. Pujara scored 95 runs in two Tests against New Zealand at home earlier this year, yet he was selected for the series opener in South Africa alongside Ajinkya Rahane, who was removed as vice-captain days before the tour.