Ind vs Eng, 4th Test: Pant showed great courage, probably his ‘finest’ knock, says Rohit


Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], March 5 (ANI): India opener Rohit Sharma on Friday labelled Rishabh Pant’s 101-run knock as the finest he has seen from the wicketkeeper-batsman so far in the longest format of the game.
Reverse sweeping James Anderson to pick a boundary on the second day of a Test match perfectly summed up Pant’s belligerent knock at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday. The swashbuckling wicket-keeper batsman single-handedly put India in command on the second day of the fourth Test against England with his third century in Test cricket.
“In my opinion, it was probably his (Pant) finest knock. It came under pressure as well, we were not in a good position when he came out to bat. We saw few sides of Rishabh Pant’s knock today. He was cautious at the beginning and then he actually flourished like we know Rishabh can. He put the team into a good position, when we came inside during the tea break, the message to both Rishabh and Washington Sundar was that we need to get to England’s score and then try to press from there.
“Then, Rishabh played his natural game, which is absolutely fine and a lot of courage he showed in the middle and it was fantastic,” said Rohit while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference on Friday.
When asked about the pitch behaviour in the first session, where India lost three wickets, Rohit said: “The pitch was fine, good to bat on. There was some help for the seamers and the spinners. We know that early on there is a lot of moisture on the pitch, we need to get through that 40-45 minutes in the beginning. We did that pretty well, actually, unfortunately, we lost Pujara at that time. We played that spell of Anderson and Stokes pretty well. They bowled in good areas, got some wickets as well.
“But it was important for us that we make sure to assess the pitch and try to build partnerships. England’s first innings was a small total so we needed to get to their total first. Test cricket we have seen many times that there could be occasions where you could be tested. We knew there was something on offer for the bowlers, it was important for us to not lose many wickets. Unfortunately, we lost few wickets but we knew we were in the game if we keep on batting as long as possible,” he added.
Further elaborating on his point, Rohit said: “Rishabh took his chances after tea, they came off and that is something we need, we need that spark in the middle and Pant brings that for us. He understands his game really well now. You need to give credit to Washington as well for the way he batted, he showed a lot of respect and he was tight on his technique and he put away the loose balls when they were on offer. We were on the backfoot when we lost wickets but the partnership between Washington and Rishabh was so important from the team’s perspective. They put us in the driver’s seat, our lead is 90-odd which is fantastic and I just hope Axar and Washington can carry the same intent tomorrow as well.”
At stumps, India’s score read 294/7 with Washington Sundar (60) and Axar Patel (11) at the crease — leading the visitors by 89 runs in the first innings. India scored 141 runs in 32 overs in the final session of the second day.
With wickets tumbling around him, Pant took 82 balls to reach his first fifty runs. But the next 50 came off just 33 balls as he decided to send the English bowlers on a leather hunt. The second new ball turned to be a blessing in disguise for the batsman as the ball started coming onto the bat beautifully and Pant was more than happy to bring out the unorthodox shots from the kitty. (ANI)