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Thursday, January 13, 2022

Rishab Pant on a song at Capetown !!

Capetown is interestingly poised !  .. .. at tea on day 3 – 3 innings completed, South Africa set a target of 210!  .. .. easy, hard, impossible – time will tell. 

Sunil Gavaskar’s words on Rishab Pant and his statement that coach Rahul Dravid too would have given him a dressing keeps reverberating !  .. this morning India started at 57/2.  The man with rocksolid defence Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli batting and with Mumbaikar, solid defender Ajinkya Rahane to follow. 


You need to hear the commentary -  Pujara hung loose but was taken by a brilliant catch by Petersen ! having scored 9; Ajinkya Rahane was not given out by the Umpire – Rabada bowled a pearl that shot up awkwardly took the glove, keeper leapt high further lobbed it and Dean Elgar at 1st slip alertly caught it.  So the failures are not of the batsman but good bowling and catching !    yet another batting collapse when Pant took the guard ! 58/4 – Pant must bat responsibly, curb his natural instinct and not throw out his wicket as he often does, was the comment !!! – at the other end Virat Kohli did a Pujara stoutly defending everything that came his way – ended up making 29 of 143 ! – 1,7,5,0,0,2 -  (Rahane, Ashwin, Thakur, Umesh Yadav, Shami & Bumrah) – and still if the score is 198 all out – all because of a resolute immaculate high impact century by Rishab Pant – what in innings it was.  

Only recently, Rishabh Pant became the fourth Indian wicketkeeper to take 100 catches in the longest format of the game.  .. ..  Critics bounce to criticize him for gifting his wicket, playing rash strokes – today too, he did everything typical of him.  Jumping out alike to pacers and spinners, trying to reverse sweep, trying to hit through cover running for a half-run in that direction, bat flying off his hand .. .. by in between the anarchy – there were classy hits that dented the pride of many a bowlers.   He was aggressive and attractive as he took well planned risks  at Newlands today. 

Rishab Pant gleefully took on   spinner Keshav Maharaj despite a fielder on the boundary, clearing the boundary without much discomfort.  He played some stunning shots including that one off Duanne Olivier, swipe over longon boundary, followed with another 4 next delivery.   .. .. and today he completed a masterly stroke-filled 100 not out against quality opposition on a deteriorating pitch, which was to the dislike of every other batsman -  a real  jaw-dropping daredevilry.   He  attempted an audacious reverse scoop to the 6'8" Marco Jansen and Hashim Amla, on the broadcast, said "I would have loved to have seen that come off".  Pant was  such a thrillingly free spirit that everyone fell  in love with him.

That marks his 4th test century, a lone battle coming off 133 balls, could have done even earlier, as he tried shielding the bowlers – got to the milestone and Indians were all out immediately.   With this, Pant became the first wicketkeeper from India to score a Test century in South Africa. Before him, the record for the highest individual score by an Indian wicketkeeper against Proteas belonged to MS Dhoni, who hit 90 against South Africa in Centurion in 2010/11.  Pant has a test hundred in England, in Australia and in South Africa. 

He has steered India to safety and hopefully the bowlers cash in to make this historic Series. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
13th Jan 2022. 

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