Cheteshwar Pujara warmed up for the upcoming two-Test series against West Indies in style by slamming a hundred on day one of the three-day warm-up game against West Indies A in Coolidge, Antigua on Saturday. Pujara was ably assisted by Rohit Sharma who hammered 68 and there were solid contributions from KL Rahul (36), Rishabh Pant (33) and Hanuma Vihari (37*) as India ended the day on 297/5. Virat Kohli did not bat on the opening day while Ajinkya Rahane, the skipper of the team for this match, fell cheaply for 1.
Rahane's dismissal has once again opened up a big debate about his form. The right-hander, who has been in wretched form for the past couple of years and also had a poor county stint with Hampshire, edged Jonathan Carter behind stumps to keeper-captain Jahmar Hamilton. He faced six deliveries before his dismissal.
Rahane has gone without a hundred for the past two years. His last three-figure knock came against a below-par Sri Lanka side in August, 2017. In the last 12 Test matches, he has crossed half-century mark only five times in 20 innings. His place in the playing XI is not under threat at least for this two Test series but the same can't be said for the home series against South Africa and Bangladesh at home if he happens to fail in the current series.
On the other hand, Pujara has been in magnificent form in the Test arena in the last one year. In the series against England, his century in Trent Bridge allowed India to win the Test match despite losing the five-match series 4-1. However, in the series against Australia Down Under, Pujara was in sublime form scoring three centuries in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. His tally of 521 runs at an average of 74 played a massive part in India winning the four-match series 2-1 and securing a series win for the first time Down Under.
The two-match Test series will be the first for both West Indies and India in the ongoing World Test Championship. The first Test will be played at the Sir Viv Richards stadium in Antigua on August 22 while the second Test will be played on August 30 at Kingston, Jamaica.