Ahmedabad, March 5
England’s spin-bowling coach Jeetan Patel on Friday doffed his hat to young wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant for taking the game away from England with his aggressive batting display on the second day of the fourth Test here.
Pant’s scintillating 101 propelled India to 294 for seven as the hosts took a crucial 89-run lead.
“When players are allowed to play as well as they are and showcase the skills that they can … Rishabh Pant is in this side to do what he does, like he did today, take games away from the opposition,” Patel said at the virtual post-day press conference.
“He did it so well today, you know, he struck out of the middle, big applause to him.”
Pant found an able partner in Washington Sundar (60 not out) as the two forged 113 runs for the seventh wicket to pull India out of trouble after it suffered a collapse.
“… he (Pant) certainly came out after that tea break and took it to us. He was in a totally aggressive role and I think it obviously paid off for them… getting a hundred,” Patel said.
“But the important part was the partnership that he created with Washington Sundar and for them to bat almost all the session without losing a wicket, hats have to go off (on) how they played there.”
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The 40-year-old former New Zealand off-spinner said England were thinking of getting a lead after India were six wickets down at one stage.
“The game is still quite under the balance I believe. But I think Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar, that partnership is huge,” he said.
“Going to that last session, as I have said before 153/6, 56 runs in arrears, we were hoping, that we can step up one (wicket) early and get through them and have a lead going into this evening.
“But look whether there was discussion in the change room or not, but he (Pant) certainly came out and played shots a bit more, got more aggressive than and it came off for them.”
Pant scored the first 50 runs in 82 balls before changing gears to complete his third Test hundred in 118 balls, studded with 13 fours and two sixes.
“When a guy is striking as well as he has been this series, it is pretty daunting to have him come in at seven and score the way he does,” said Patel.
Patel praised English all-rounder Ben Stokes for taking the crucial wickets of rival skipper Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane.
“He got some crucial wickets along the way and did exactly what a second seamer would do,” Patel said.
“He (Stokes) is pretty cooked, as you can imagine, but he is war-horse, he loves it, he loves when it gets tough, hot and tiring, so hopefully we will see his best again tomorrow.”
While Jack Leach (2/66) took two wickets, Dom Bess didn’t have a good day in office.
“He (Bess) would have liked to bowl a lot better today, given a lot more to the group, but did not work out for him. They played him very well, they stepped on him and looked for balls to score off him.
“Right now he would be down and tired about it, but the beauty of this game is there is another opportunity tomorrow.” PTI