Rishabh Pant rose to the occasion just when India were staring at a potential series loss in Manchester, and slammed a sublime 113-ball 125 to turn the match on its head. Pant was ably assisted by Hardik Pandya, who made a quickfire 71 after taking four crucial wickets in the first innings. 

Adjudged as Player of the Match, Pant received a medal and a champagne bottle in the post-match ceremony, which he gifted to his former coach Ravi Shastri, who is a part of the commentary panel for the host’s broadcast. Shastri acknowledged the gift and then both of them waved towards the fans before Pant walked back to join the huddle.

Later on, Virat Kohli was seen gesturing towards Shastri for another bottle. Both Kohli and Shastri ushered Indian cricket into a new era of dominance, where they became a team to beat in Tests. Shastri’s tenure came to an end last year, but he still enjoys immense popularity in the dressing room.

As far as the match is concerned, India needed 260 – the highest total in the series – to win this series. But the top-order once again succumbed to Reece Topley, who prised out the wickets of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, and Virat Kohli to leave India teetering at 38/3. Suryakumar Yadav looked comfortable, played his shots, but then ended up edging to Jos Buttler on 16.

Then Pandya and Pant stabilised the innings with their 133-run stand for the fifth wicket. When Pant was struggling in the beginning, it was Pandya who took charge and kept the asking run rate in check with intermittent boundaries. He struck ten fours for his 55-ball 71. Pant, meanwhile, remained cautious for the majority of the innings, and teed off only when the victory was within reach.

“Hopefully, I will remember (this knock) for the rest of my life. I was focusing on one ball at a time when I was batting. When your team is under pressure and you bat like that .. something I aspire to do,” Pant, said.

Featured Image Credit: Rishabh Pant/Instagram