ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Cheteshwar Pujara tuned up for next week’s first Test with a compact hundred on the opening day of India’s three-day tour match against West Indies A in Antigua on August 17.
The right-hander, who averages 51 in 68 Tests, struck exactly 100 as India enjoyed a good warm-up, ending on 297 for six at Coolidge Cricket Ground.
Rohit Sharma chimed in with 68, Hanuma Vihari finished 37 not out, while Lokesh Rahul (36) and Rishabh Pant (33) both also got starts but failed to carry on.
Part-time seamer Jonathan Carter was the home side’s best bowler with three for 39.
India started soundly with Rahul and Mayank Agarwal (12) posting 36 for the first wicket before Carter struck twice as the visitors lost three wickets for 17 runs in the space of 29 balls.
Agarwal missed a full-length delivery from Carter and was bowled, Rahul hooked at fast bowler Keon Harding and taken at long leg by Romario Shepherd while Ajinkya Rahane lasted just six balls before falling to a catch at the wicket after flirting at one from Carter which swung.
Pujara then combined with Rohit to resist West Indies A in a 132-run fourth-wicket stand which took India to lunch at 89 for three.
Unbeaten on 16 at the break, Pujara went on to face 187 balls in a shade under 3-¾ hours while striking eight fours and a six. Rohit, meanwhile, also counted eight fours and a six in 115-ball knock which lasted just under 2-½ hours before holing out to long-on where Harding took an excellent running catch on the ropes off off-spinner Akim Fraser.
Pujara, not out on 89 at tea with India on 219 for four, added a further 58 for the fifth wicket with Vihari both retiring after reaching three figures.
Pant put on 53 for the sixth wicket with Vihari before playing back to Carter and falling LBW.