Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane has revealed the reason behind the team-management sending Rishabh Pant ahead of Hanuma Vihari on the final day of the Sydney Test. Speaking at the post-match presentation, Rahane said that the objective behind promoting Pant was to disrupt the line of the Aussie bowlers by having a right-left combination.
The move eventually proved to be a masterstroke as Rishabh Pant launched a brilliant counterattack against Nathan Lyon and the other Australian bowlers as he smashed a whirlwind 118-ball 97.
Pant stitched a 148-run-stand with Pujara and till the time he was at the crease, an unlikely Indian win looked possible. Needless to sat that Ajinkya Rahane was full of praise for the swashbuckler.
“We made that strategy, but in the end it is all about the player (Rishabh Pant) executing the plan. It was all about the left-hand right-hand combination in the middle, and that worked out really well for us, and credit to him the way he batted: attacking innings and backed himself really well,” Ajinkya Rahane said.
Pant's enjoying himself out there now!
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 11, 2021
Besides Pant, Rahane heaped high praise on the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Hanuma Vihari- who literally batted on one leg- for the character that they showed throughout the day, something he revealed was the talk in their team-meeting ahead of the 5th day.
He also lauded the bowlers for the manner in which they staged a comeback to bowl Australia out for 338 in the first innings despite them being 2-200 at one stage.
“Our talk coming this morning was to show character and fight till the end. Not to think about the result. Really happy with the way we fought especially today but also throughout the game, even in the first innings when Australia were 200 for 2 and getting them all out for 338 was really good. There are a few areas we can improve on but special mention to Vihari and Ashwin. The way they batted in the end and showed character was really good to see,” Ajinkya Rahane said.