Dubai: Underfire wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant showed why he is regarded so highly as he led the chase for Leicestershire against India on the second day of the four-day tour game at Leicester on Friday.
Pant, who came under fire for his carefree shots while leading Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League and subsequently while cpataining India in the Twenty20 series against South Africa, put his head down to play a matured and brisk knock of 76, which included 14 boundaries and the lone six of the innings. The left-hander, coming in at the fall of the third wicket at the score of 44, was involved in two crucial partnerships, 58-run stand with Rishi Patel and 70 with Roman Walker, who capped a memorable game by scoring 33 after a five-wicket haul in the first innings.
Unleashing big drives
Pant came out the better in his exchange with Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur (Jasprit Bumrah represented Leicestershire) by playing both orthodox and innovative shots, to score 76 off 87 balls in response to the Indians’ first-innings score of 246, declared overnight.
The left-handed batter took on all the seamers, scoring 26 off 30 balls from Shami, 20 off 23 against Siraj and 13 off 12 when facing Umesh. He went from 45 off 72 to 70 from 82, unleashing extra-cover drives, paddle sweeps off the quicks, and nonchalant short-arm jabs.
However, in the end, Pant fell to his natural strength — left-arm spin. He tried to slog-sweep Ravindra Jadeja, but the lack of turn took the outer edge for a high catch at long-on. Jadeja also boosted his chances to get a place in the first XI after he picked three wickets in just eight overs.
Shami and Jadeja claimed three wickets each as Thakur and Siraj bagged two each to dismiss the hosts to 244.
After taking a two-run lead, India began the second innings in the right fashion with Srikar Bharat, who remained unbeaten on 70 when India declared at the overnight score of 246 for eight, continued from where he left off after pushed to the opening slot.
The right-hander is unbeaten on 31 while Shubman Gill once again fritted away the start and was the lone wicket to fall after stroke-filled 38, losing his wicket to pacer Navdeep Saini. At close, India are 80/1.