Ranji Trophy 2023-24 – Cheteshwar Pujara’s 17th double-hundred flattens Jharkhand

Cheteshwar Pujara scored his 17th double century in first-class cricket, in the first round of the 2023-24 Ranji Trophy season, against Jharkhand. Batting overnight on 157, Pujara crossed 200 in the first session of the third day and remained unbeaten on 243 after lunch, when Saurashtra declared 578 for 4, with a massive lead of 436.

Pujara is now tied with Herbert Sutcliffe and Mark Ramprakash on 17 first-class doubles and behind Don Bradman (37), Wally Hammond (36) and Patsy Hendren (22) in total. This was Pujara's eighth double hundred in the Ranji Trophy, where he is second on the list behind only Paras DograIt is nine o'clock.

Pujara also has three first-class triple centuries, the last of which came against West Indies A in October 2013.

Pujara will hope his latest double will put him in contention for the five-Test series against England starting January 25 in Hyderabad. Pujara last played a Test in June, on WTC final against Australia at The Oval, in which he scored 14 and 27 as India lost by 209 runs.

India have since played two Test series of two matches each, in the West Indies in July 2023 and recently in South Africa. Shubman Gill fell to No.3 in all these Tests with Yashasvi Jaiswal opening the batting.

Pujara, meanwhile, has played county cricket for Sussex, the Irani Cup (the annual first-class match pitting the Ranji Trophy champions against the rest of India) and the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, but without impressive returns so far.

He is likely to play at least one more Ranji match – against Haryana at home from January 12-15 – before the Indian team is announced for the England Tests. Saurashtra's third match will be against Vidarbha from January 19 to 22.

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