Middlesex 103 for 0 (Stoneman 47*, Robson 45*) trail Sussex 523 (Pujara 231, Alsop 135, Helm 5-109) by 420 runs
The Indian international became the first Sussex batter to make a double-century against Middlesex at Lord’s. The last Sussex batter to achieve 200 at the home of cricket was his countryman Colonel H. H. Shri Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji II while playing against the MCC 125 years ago.
Pujara, whose marathon effort, which had begun 24 hours earlier during London’s hottest day on record, batted almost nine hours before being last out, having steered his side to 523 – so eclipsing Sussex’s previous best score at Lord’s of 522 set in 2005.
Against a largely inexperience bowling attack, Middlesex made a positive start in reply, reaching 103 without loss at stumps, Mark Stoneman on 47 and Sam Robson 45.
At a time where there is so much talk of ‘Bazball’ Pujara reminded us of the merits of a classical innings, demanding concentration, technique and a purity of stroke-play.
His overnight partner Oli Carter soon departed lbw to Toby Roland-Jones and when Delray Rawlins fenced one from Helm into the hands of Luke Hollman at Gully the visitors were 346 for 6.
Perhaps fatigued by his efforts 24 hours earlier, Pujara was subdued throughout the morning, twice chastening himself for loose strokes, but helped by youngster Danial Ibrahim, who showed maturity beyond his 17 years, he regathered himself and dug in once more. The pair added 68 either side of lunch before Roland Jones trapped Ibrahim for an invaluable 36.
The 28-year-old, who became a Greek international only last week, blocked up an end allowing Pujara to reach 150 in 400 minutes after which the shackles came off. He greeted the return of Hollman by hoisting him into the Compton Stand. His one life on day two came on 175 when John Simpson, standing up to the stumps to Tim Murtagh failed to hold on to a thin edge
The escape allowed Pujara and Karvelas to add 50 before the latter gave Murtagh recompense by hooking him down the throat of deep square.
There was a lovely ovation for former Middlesex man Finn, who allowed Pujara to forge on towards the double-century mark.
There were no nervous 190s as he twice in an over drove Murtagh through mid-off for four before a single dropped into the on-side led to another ovation.
Finn was finally stumped, but there was time for a third six before Pujara just failed make red ink, perishing in the grand manner to give Helm his fifth scalp.
After 160 overs plus in the field and needing 374 to save the follow-on, Robson was given a life on 15 when wicketkeeper Carter dropped a dolly which would have given Karvelas a first County Championship wicket. Scare survived, both he and Stoneman had individual half-centuries in sight at the close.