Rishabh Pant is happy with his performance in the second innings of the second practice match against Australia A. The left-hander struck a rapid century from just 73 balls. He completed his ton by smashing 22 runs off the last over of the day from Jack Wildermuth.
Pant will face stiff competition from Wriddhiman Saha for the wicket-keeper’s slot for the first Test against Australia. The four-match Test series commences with a day-night affair in Adelaide on 17th December.
Saha also is in good form. Regarded as the best gloveman in the country, Saha scored 54* in the second innings after scoring a duck in the first innings of the first warm-up match. He was dismissed for another duck in the first innings of the second game and did not get to bat in the next innings.
Both the batters had contrasting IPL 2020; Saha averaged 71 while Pant a mediocre 31. Pant was observed to be struggling with fitness and timing with the bat in the IPL.
The hundred in the warm-up match is a big confidence-booster for me: Rishabh Pant
When Pant was not in the eleven of the first practice match, it felt that Saha will be preferred over the left-hander in the Test series as well. But later it was revealed that Pant has a sore neck and hence didn’t play and returned for the next practice match.
The left-hander’s confidence is boosted by this hundred as he has been in Australia for a month without playing any high-level game- Pant was dropped from the limited-overs squad. The Delhi Capitals keeper asserted that he was looking for some batting time after being adjudged incorrectly in the first innings.
“This hundred has been a big confidence-booster for me. It’s been a month, I am in Australia but I didn’t get the chance to play in the first practice match because of a stiff neck.
“In the first innings here I was unlucky as I felt the LBW decision was wrong from the umpire. In the second innings, my focus was to spend as much time as possible and the result is I got a good inning under my belt,” Rishabh Pant told BCCI.
The 23-year-old staged a massive partnership with Hanuma Vihari, who also notched a three-figure score. He said that while coming into bat he aims was to spend some time in the middle as it would be the last chance to bat before the Test series. It seems like the southpaw will get the nod over Saha- Pant did score a century on India’s previous tour down under.
“When I went out to bat a lot of overs were left, so (Hanuma) Vihari and I wanted to build a good partnership. We wanted to bat as much as possible. I was just trying to give myself as much time as possible and slowly I started to develop confidence,” Rishabh Pant added.