Indian wicket-keeper batter Rishabh Pant played one of the best knocks of his Test career as he remained undefeated on 100 against South Africa in the ongoing third Test.
Early in the Day 3, India lost the wickets of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in quick succession as the Proteas were aiming to restrict the visitors for a negligible lead.
Rishabh Pant plays a stunning knock against South Africa on a challenging surface
Pant joined skipper Virat Kohli at the crease when India were reeling at 58/4 at the end of the 19th over of their innings. Kohli was meticulously trying to avoid the balls that were pitched away from his bodyline.
The Indian skipper has deployed his unseen stoic defensive technique to avert his dismissal. Kohli was successful in hanging around the crease for a longer period than he used to in his previous innings.
But he wasn’t able to fetch enough runs that could keep the team’s scoreboard running, so the onus was on Pant to deliver those important runs.
Pant, who has been chastised for playing unnecessary shots, orchestrated India’s lead with his aggressive mode of batting as he slashed, hoicked and swiped against the South African bowlers.
Not only he did play the bad balls, but also showed great temptation against the good deliveries with his sheer brilliance. He swiped one, playing across the line to Duanne Olivier for a six near wide long-on.
Before that, he had blasted consecutive sixes against South Africa’s left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj in the 48th over.
Pant was batting at 71 when Kohli poked an outside off-stump pitched delivery by Lungi Ngidi to Aiden Markram at the second slip.
It finally ended the 94-run stand between Pant and Kohli, the latter had just contributed 15 runs in this alliance.
Kohli’s wicket allowed South African bowlers to expose the tail-enders of India as they were reduced to 189 for nine wickets down even though Pant’s counter-attacking knock was on.
Rishabh Pant dazzles with a hundred of sheer daring brilliance: Ravi Shastri
Pant smacked Rabada for a boundary to move to 98 and got a single on the final ball of his over to inch closer to his hundred. In the next over, he swivels pulled it through square leg to complete his fourth Test hundred.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri called Pant’s knock a classic and a daring one that rescued India from a difficult position.
“Pant dazzles with a hundred of sheer daring brilliance and class. Simply magnificent young man. What an entertainer,” Shastri tweeted.
Pant pummelled six fours and four sixes in his magnificent unbeaten knock as India were bowled out for 198 with the Proteas asked to chase 212 to win the series decider match.
South Africa were 101/2 at the end of the stumps on Day 3, they still need 111 runs to win as Keegan Petersen is batting on 48.