Rishabh Pant came down hard on England and took away the advantage they gained in the 1st session by hitting a majestic 118-ball 101 on Day 2 of the 4th Test in Ahmedabad.
The first session belonged to England but the rest of the day belonged to India and Rishabh Pant. When stumps were called on Friday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, the hosts had gained a handy 89-run lead over Joe Root’s men.
India was in deep trouble (121/5) when a well-set Rohit Sharma departed after lunch but it was then that Rishabh Pant show happened. Stunning and sometimes breathtaking shots from the 23-year-old drained the physically tired English side mentally as well. Washington Sundar (60*) and Axar Patel (11*) were on the crease when India ended the day on 294 for 7.
Earlier, India started off watchfully when action resumed on Day 2 of the 4th Test in Ahmedabad. England continued to do what they did yesterday and bowled on tight lines to keep Rohit Sharma and Chesteshwar Pujara under check. The first major incident of the day happened when a consistent Jack Leach finally reaped dividends and trapped Pujara in front of the stumps. The local boy took a review in hurry but that could not save his day.
Virat Kohli walked in next but could survive only 8 balls. Ben Stokes bowled a superb short delivery which kissed the bat of the off-guard India captain before landing in the hands of wicketkeeper Ben Foakes. The 32-year-old’s wait for 71st international continued as he departed for a duck. India’s scorecard read 41 for 3 at that moment.
Two Mumbaikars Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane tried forging a partnership to take India out of the uncalled pressure. Rohit continued to look solid, while Rahane, showing intent, played some exquisite boundary but fell to James Anderson in the final over before the lunch break. India was 4 down for 80 now.
Rohit was joined by Rishabh Pant when players returned in the middle. Pant played no ramp shots, Rohit Sharma continued to bat with a focus in Test cricket as a 41-run partnership brewed between them. The crowd at Narendra Modi Stadium was on its feet, chanting Rohit’s name in anticipation as they waited for the star batsman to take a single and reach his fifty but brilliant Ben Stokes took another India batsman by surprise. The ball jagged back beautifully to hit the back leg of the right-hander. A review was taken but the umpire’s decision was upheld again.
R Ashwin made his way into the middle and stayed for 32 balls before hard-working Leach scalped his 2nd wicket and sent him back in the pavilion. The hosts were still 59 runs behind England’s 205.
But Indian youngsters and their magic prevailed again. Pant and Washington Sundar scored fluently against tired England bowlers after Tea with the former bringing his fifty off 82 balls. The two southpaws found the boundary on regular intervals to take India’s lead past 50. Pant looked in his elements and thrashed the England bowlers on his whims and fancies. Approaching his 3rd Test ton, Pant, on the bowling of James Anderson, played a reverse-sweep over first slip for a boundary. Few balls later he brought up his three-figure mark with a maximum, England captain Joe Root was at the receiving end this time.
But the youngster departed just after it, bringing an end to a 158-ball 118 partnership with Sundar. He went hard at the ball again but sent it right into the safe hands of Root at midwicket. However, 21-year-old Sundar continued undeterred and brought up his third Test fifty.