Rishabh Pant goes big. (BCCI)
Rishabh Pant goes big. (BCCI)

'Thought he was playing in the IPL': Jack Leach on bowling to Rishabh Pant

  • India vs England: Jack Leach, who picked up 4/76 in England's massive win over India on Tuesday, felt India batsman Rishabh Pant was in IPL mode in reference to the India wicketkeeper's knock of 91 in the first innings.
By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 09, 2021 02:51 PM IST

England left-arm spinner Jack Leach, who picked up 4/76 in England's massive win over India on Tuesday, felt India batsman Rishabh Pant was in IPL mode in reference to the India wicketkeeper's knock of 91 in the first innings. Pant came in to bat when India were reduced to 73/4 and dished out a counter-attacking innings which saw him hit five sixes, all off the bowling of Leach before being dismissed by Dom Bess.

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Leach, playing his maiden Test match in India, grabbed a match haul of six wickets, and while he cherished the performance, the left-arm spinner was sort of taken aback looking at Pant's approach.

"They have a great batting lineup and I knew the pressure that comes with it. Happy to take some wickets and get the boys over the line," Leach said. "Thought he was playing in the IPL (Pant). It's a challenge that comes for a spinner. Was a tough evening that one, but boys helped me stay strong. Had a long time without any cricket (before Sri Lanka). Was about bowling those long overs in the heat."

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Back-to-back impressive performances bode well for Leach given he hadn't played much cricket before the Sri Lanka Tests. In the first Test against SL at Galle, Leach picked up a five-wicket-haul as England completed a comprehensive seven-wicket win, and followed it with 4/76 in the second Test. Couple that with two wickets in the first innings in Chennai and another four in the second puts the spinner in a good place.

In the first innings, Leach picked up 2/105, getting the wicket of R Ashwin and Shahbaz Nadeem after he was taken to the cleaners by Pant. The second innings, making the most of a deteriorating surface, Leach was on the mark from the very beginning. He bowled Rohit Sharma with a ripper of a ball, before giving England their first breakthrough of Day 5 in the form of Cheteshwar Pujara's wicket. He picked up Ashwin and Nadeem for the second time in the Test and was on the verge of another five-for.

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