Rishabh Pant scored his maiden Test century while KL Rahul built on his ton as the duo helped India recover from 121 for 5 in the second innings of the fifth Test. At tea, India were 298 for 5, still needing 166 runs to win the game.
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant had their task cut out when the second session began. The writing was very much on the wall when Pant joined Rahul in the middle. India were reeling at 121 for 5 in the first session while chasing 464 with little less than one full day remaining.
After being reduced to 2 for 3, an 118-run partnership between Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane had revived India’s hopes. However, India lost Rahane and Hanuma Vihari in quick succession to find themselves in deep trouble. Moeen Ali dismissed Rahane to end the 118-run stand. One run later, Ben Stokes dismissed Vihari for a duck to reduce India to 121 for 5.
But Rahul held firm from one end and went on to score his fifth Test century. And in Pant he found an able partner as the duo mixed caution with aggression to revive India’s hopes. With Rahul waging a lone battle, Pant eased the pressure off him bu scoring a couple of boundaries off Moeen, including a one-handed six over long-on. The duo shared an unbeaten 46-run stand to take India to lunch without any further setback.
And they began the second session in the same manner. In fact, it was Pant who took the onus on himself to keep the scoreboard ticking. While Rahul held firm from one end, Pant kept on hitting boundaries at regular intervals to ease the pressure.
The partnership soon crossed the 100-run mark before Pant reached his maiden Test fifty, off 78 balls, with a cut for a single off Ben Stokes. The duo rarely looked in trouble as the partnership grew from strength to strength. And just before the tea, Pant hit Adil Rashid for a maximum to reach his maiden Test ton.
Here is how Twitter reacted to the session:
Fantastic display of controlled aggression by @klrahul11 and @RishabPant777.
This partnership is just one of the many fascinating moments this Test Series has provided us with. Test cricket at its absolute best. #ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/bN3WzdEDUb
— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) September 11, 2018
No reason why @RishabPant777 shouldn’t feature in the limited over squads. Needn’t wait to be next keeper in line.. Could purely feature as a lower order finisher! The team could do well with a left hand option .. knock knock #CWC2019
— Jatin Sapru (@jatinsapru) September 11, 2018
Really admire the attitude of KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant , this attitude of not giving up. Memorable centuries for both of them.
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) September 11, 2018
Congratulations @RishabPant777 for your maiden test 100! Good knock brother! ?
— Wriddhiman Saha (@Wriddhipops) September 11, 2018
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) September 11, 2018
Opened account in Test Cricket with a 6, first century in Test Cricket with a 6. Very impressive young man- Rishabh Pant. A brilliant innings from KL Rahul as well. Shining light amidst a difficult tour.
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) September 11, 2018
This lad Pant has a sense for the dramatic. Hit his second ball in Test cricket for 6, and went from 95 to his first Test century with a 6 too!
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) September 11, 2018
Rishabh Pant's century:
– First Indian WKeeper in SENA countries
– 2nd youngest WKeeper ever
– Youngest Indian since 2002
– First Indian WKeeper in 4th inns
– 4th Indian to score maiden century with a six#EngvInd
— Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) September 11, 2018