Yorkshire v Essex (Day Two): Cheteshwar Pujara running into trouble

'PUJARA, India's run-out specialist,' proclaimed the headline on the website Cricinfo earlier this year.

Yorkshire's Cheteshwar Pujara: Involved in mix-up.
Yorkshire's Cheteshwar Pujara: Involved in mix-up.

The article explained how Cheteshwar Pujara had been involved in six of his country’s previous eight run-outs in Test cricket, a sequence which, at one point, cost him a place in the side and also saw him become the first Indian to be run out twice in the same Test.

The Yorkshire batsman’s unhappy trot continued when he was run out again on his second debut for the club at Emerald Headingley.

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After being trapped lbw for two in the first innings, Pujara was run-out for 18 in the second, marking a disappointing return to Yorkshire duty for a man who played briefly for the county in 2015.

It was a shame, for Pujara, having been dropped on nought at first slip by Riki Wessels off Jake Ball on Saturday’s day two, had settled into a typical obstinate rhythm.

As Yorkshire sought to increase a lead of 68 after dismissing Notts for 188 on the stroke of lunch, he had worked hard for 52 minutes as the hosts chiselled out runs in the afternoon sunshine.

But when Adam Lyth dropped a delivery from Harry Gurney down at his feet, with the score standing at 28-1 in the second innings, a bizarre mix-up ensued in which Pujara was halfway down the pitch before Lyth had even ascertained the whereabouts of the ball.

As fielders swooped, Lyth expressed no interest in risking the single, at which point Pujara was almost close enough to shake hands with his partner before making a futile attempt to run all the way back to the non-striker’s end, where the stumps were duly broken with the player light years out of his ground.

Pujara had run hesitantly in the first innings, too, when one sensed that a mishap could happen at any moment.

Clearly, it is an area that has caused him problems, the resolution of which he will be anxious to address.

Not that it had an unduly deleterious effect on events from Yorkshire’s perspective as they backed up their work of the opening day.

At stumps, their score was 189-4 and their lead 257, with Gary Ballance 76 and Jack Leaning 37.

When play began, Notts were 53-4 and had much to do. Ross Taylor and Riki Wessels increased the score to 100 before the hosts turned the screw, the visitors collapsing to 130-8.

Taylor and Tom Moores fell to catches at third slip by Jack Leaning off Ben Coad; Lyth pulled off a stunner at second slip, diving low and to his right to remove Luke Wood off Tim Bresnan, who then accounted for Wessels courtesy of another grab at third slip by Leaning.

Luke Fletcher was run-out and Gurney caught at cover, with only Ball’s unbeaten 44 keeping Notts in it, Coad finishing with 4-49.

When Yorkshire replied, Alex Lees was lbw shouldering arms, Lyth strangled down the leg-side and Harry Brook bowled for a solid 36. But Ballance and Leaning played tough match cricket in an unbroken stand of 94.