Rishabh Pant once again served as a reminder to his detractors why he is one of the most exciting talents of the modern era. And, he did that at the expense of a hapless Australian A attack as he smashed his way to a maniac 73-ball ton at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Pant, who had scored a 159 at the same venue during India’s triumphant 2018-19 tour of Australia, looked in supreme touch right from the very outset.
Anything that was pitched wide of off-stump, he rocked back and flayed it past backward point; anything short was disdainfully hooked both in front and backward of square, while anything that was pitched up was sumptuously creamed towards the cover-regions.
Of-course, the spinner bore the maximum brunt of his onslaught as he regularly danced down the track to hammer Mitchell Swepson and Nic Maddinson over deep midwicket.
No Rishabh Pant is ever complete without his trademark slog-sweeps and we saw a plethora of them during his whirlwind knock on Saturday as he regularly went down on one knee and mowed them over deep midwicket.
Pant reached his half-century in 43 balls but with the overs before the close of day’s play running out, it looked like he wouldn’t get enough balls to compile his second First-Class hundred.
‘No problem’, said Pant as he teed into Jack Wildermuth in the final over of the day, smoking him for 4,4,6, 4, and 4 to bring up a 73-ball hundred. He greeted Wildermuth with a disdainful hook shot in front of the square before he went downtown for another boundary.
Wildermuth pitched it short on the third ball and Pant hooked him behind square for a six. The next delivery, Wildermuth went full, and Rishabh Pant creamed a cover-drive to go to 99 with one ball to go before stumps. Wildermuth bowled a full-toss on the final delivery, and Pant gleefully accepted it to smash him past mid-wicket to bring up his 100.