A Rishabh Pant (101) counterattack saved the blushes for Team India yet again, on Day 2 of the fourth and final Test match against England. The wicketkeeper-batsman not only scored his third Test hundred, but also put his team in a commanding position, having arrived at the crease with the score at 140 for six. […]
A Rishabh Pant (101) counterattack saved the blushes for Team India yet again, on Day 2 of the fourth and final Test match against England. The wicketkeeper-batsman not only scored his third Test hundred, but also put his team in a commanding position, having arrived at the crease with the score at 140 for six.
But the most exciting bit of play took place after England opted for the second new ball. James Anderson, with the red cherry in his hand for the 81st over, was hoping to repeat his heroics from yesterday. But Pant had other ideas.
He took him on for back-to-back boundaries off the first two balls of the over, as he approached the triple-figure mark.
The best however, was yet to come. He sat down on one knee and greeted the most successful fast bowler in Test history with a reverse sweep, that too over a densely populated slip cordon and off a near-140kph delivery.
The commentators were in awe of this modern version of Test batting while the internet also was quick to celebrate this coming-of-age moment for the longest version of cricket. Some even called it the shot of the year.
Pant then went on to complete his hundred with a six off Joe Root in the very next over. It was a classic left-hander’s sweep over mid-wicket.
The crowd was up on their feet and so was the dressing room. In fact, Indian skipper Virat Kohli was seen sprinting down the staircase towards the balcony to express appreciation for his young Delhi compatriot.
The six-hitting antics of Pant also drew comparisons with a certain Virender Sehwag. Not many have the audacity to play such a stroke in their nineties, barring the Najafgarh opener, and now of course India’s current wicketkeeper. It has costed the youngster a few hundreds in the process, but that’s just how he plays.
While praise was flowing in from all quarters, a special southpaw from the Caribbean was quick to recognise the heroics of Pant’s innings, too. Brian Lara put up an appreciation post on his Instagram account and asked the Indian left-hander to reflect on how satisfying a Test hundred feels over any other format.
In a humble post-match interaction with the commentary crew, Pant played the shot down and attributed it to ‘luck’. He admitted that he had premeditated the shot and that ‘when everything is going your way, you can try your luck, sometimes.’
Before getting dismissed for 101 eventually, Pant, along with Washington Sundar (60*), put India in the driver’s seat. They head into Day 3 with an 89-run first innings lead, and three wickets in hand.
What a day of Test cricket; what a player Rishabh Pant!