A sensational century from Rishabh Pant and a fighting half-century from Washington Sundar helped India take a healthy first-innings lead in the fourth and final Test against England at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad.
At stumps on Day 2, India were 294 for 7, leading England by 89 runs with Washington (60) and Axar Patel (11) in the middle.
Pant, who had made 101 off 118, was the star of the day. It was Pant’s third Test century and first in India.
India began the day 24 for 1 with Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle but slipped to 80 for 4 by the end of the first session.
That’s when Rishabh Pant walked in, but he too saw partners deserting him as India slipped to 146 for 6, still 59 behind England’s first innings score of 205. Any lead would have been a huge bonus for England as India had to bat last.
But from 146 for 6, Pant and Washington added 113 for the seventh wicket to take India past England’s score and into a decent lead.
Prior to Washington, Pant stitched a couple of small partnerships with Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin, getting himself into the 30s in the process without much risk.
There was the odd big hit like a straight six against Joe Root, but it was largely a calculated knock that was paced well.
That pattern continued even after Washington joined. The duo took India to tea at 153 for 6 – England on top – but grabbed the momentum back in the final session.
Pant reached his fifty in 82 balls, Washington mixed caution and aggression, as India went past 200.
Once they reached England’s total, Pant opened up. Pant was 55 off 91 at one stage, and in the next 24 balls, reached his century!
Root, Stokes and even James Anderson with the new ball were not spared as Pant switched gears; an audacious reverse scoop off Anderson being the shot of the session.
However, Anderson had the last laugh as a change in length forced Pant to swipe across to mid wicket bringing an end to an entertaining knock.
Some more of Pant in the final session could have well put the game beyond England – if it’s not already – but it was a just reward to Anderson who was terrific through the day.