'Pant did no wonders. His left hand doesn’t work but still...': Ex-PAK pacer credits England bowlers for record century

Updated on Jul 03, 2022 09:08 AM IST

Coming out to bat when India were at 98 for 5, Pant hit a counter-attacking 146 to lead the team's recovery in the rescheduled fifth Test.

Rishabh Pant hits four runs off the bowling of England's Jack Leach(Reuters)
Rishabh Pant hits four runs off the bowling of England's Jack Leach(Reuters)
By, New Delhi

Rishabh Pant thrives under pressure, thanks to his no-holds-barred approach, unconventional stroke-play and perhaps a tinge of luck. His counter-attacking century in the ongoing fifth Test is a testament to his prowess, especially when the chips are down. Under the grey Edgbaston sky, the maverick wicketkeeper-batter hit 146 off just 111 balls, bailing the Indian team out of a precarious position on the opening day. He hit 19 fours and four sixes while dominating a partnership of 222 with fellow left-hander Ravindra Jadeja, who scored a ton as well. (Also Read | Sachin Tendulkar stunned with Bumrah's freak show against Stuart Broad, reacts to India captain's carnage on Twitter)

Pant's brisk hundred was a blend of conventional strokes, punches and a reverse hit against James Anderson. The Indian was his usual free-flowing self when he danced down the track and dished out the unorthodox scoop – a replay of his audacious shot against the veteran seamer when England toured India in 2021.

The 24-year-old earned plaudits for scoring the fastest hundred (89 balls) by an Indian wicketkeeper. With a couple of hundreds in England, one each in Australia and South Africa, Pant has already entered the elite league of stumpers. But he received rare criticism from former Pakistan pacer Mohammad Asif, who blamed the English bowlers for not testing the Indian.

“It was totally England bowlers’ fault as Pant did no wonders. He [Pant] has technical faults. His left hand doesn’t work but still, he managed to score a century because English bowlers didn’t bowl to him in his weak areas,” Mohammad Asif said in a Twitter video.

Leach ended up with day's figures of 0/71 in nine overs, thanks to Pant's batting carnage against the tweaker. Pant hit the left-arm spinner for two sixes and as many fours in his last over.

“I will not name individuals but England made a lot of mistakes. When Jadeja and Pant were batting, they brought in a left-arm spinner who wasn’t an ideal option to bowl at that moment. I am not against Pant, but with such decisions by the opposition, you get an edge to score big,” he added.

While Pant reached the three-figure mark, Virat Kohli fell to Matthew Potts. He dragged one onto his stumps in a half-hearted attempt to leave the delivery.

Interestingly, it was Asif who had talked about Kohli's batting slump in 2021. He had explained how the star batter is a bottom-hand player who flourished because of his fitness levels.

“I pointed out Kohli’s technical fault a couple of years ago but people started calling me out. See today, he hasn’t scored a century for a long time now. I love watching Kohli and even though he is a big player than me. But technically, he needs to work harder,” reiterated Asif.

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