Former India batsman VVS Laxman believes Rishabh Pant‘s belligerent knock in India’s first innings of the Chennai Test against England changed the momentum of the game.
The England team had reduced India to a score of 73/4 in theirpursuit of the visitors’ massive total of 578 runs. Rishabh Pant then hit a swashbuckling 91 and stitched together a 119-run partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara to arrest the slide.
Setting all things aside, Rishabh Pant got 91 today. Following up on scores of 89* 23 & 97 before this. 89* being a great Test match innings.
So that’s 👍👍👍to Rishabh Pant the batsman. #INDvENG
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) February 7, 2021
While talking about Pant’s knock on Star Sports, VVS Laxman highlighted that the southpaw’s buccaneering approach had snatched the momentum away from the Joe Root-led side.
“The England bowlers were on top, the captain and vice-captain had both got out after the openers and the field placement was attacking. But the way Rishabh Pant batted fearlessly by using his feet, he opened up the field and changed the momentum and that is the special thing about Rishabh Pant’s batting,” said Laxman.
The 46-year-old lauded Pant and Pujara for sticking to their natural game in helping India recover from a tight spot.
“Both those batsmen counter-attacked in their own style. We know Pujara takes his time, plays a lot of deliveries and does not play in the air when he uses his feet. Rishabh Pant plays in a different fashion. The mindset shown by Rishabh Pant was very much required and that was shown by the field placement,” he added.
VVS Laxman pointed out that Rishabh Pant was also selective in his strokeplay, a clear indication of his growing maturity.
“We cannot only talk about this match. The way he batted in Sydney and Brisbane, played his natural game under pressure. He is not playing the big shots on every delivery. So he is showing maturity as well,” observed Laxman.
The reputed commentator signed off by stating that the confidence Rishabh Pant gained after his recent exploits in Australia held him in good stead.
“When you are out of form, your confidence is down, you don’t have the clarity in your thinking. But when your confidence is high, you are always one step ahead of the bowlers and back your game plan,” concluded Laxman.
However, instead of getting bogged down, Pant took the attack to the England bowlers. The wicketkeeper-batsman was particularly severe on Jack Leach, with all five of his sixes coming off the left-arm spinner’s bowling.
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) February 7, 2021
Pant showed restraint against Dom Bess for a majority of his innings, with the ball spinning away from him. Unfortunately, he was dismissed by the off-spinner nine short of a well-deserved hundred, holing a catch to deep extra-cover while going for a big hit.
Despite Pant’s knock, India continue to be in a spot of bother. The hosts still trail England by 321 runs with two days of play left.