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PIX: Vihari, Pant hit hundreds in tour match to stake claim

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Harish Kotian
Last updated on: December 12, 2020 17:53 IST
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Rishabh Pant

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant smashed a 73-ball century off the final ball of the second day of the practice match against Australia A at the Sydney Cricket Ground, on Saturday. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Rishabh Pant and Hanuma Vihari put themselves in the reckoning for next week's first Test with contrasting hundreds as India thoroughly dominated Australia A on Day 2 of the day-night practice match, in Sydney, on Saturday.

 

Needing 19 runs to reach his century, Pant clobbered Jack Wildermuth for 4, 4, 6, 4, 4 off the final over of the second day, to finish unbeaten on a blistering 103 off only 73 balls, inclusive of six sixes and nine fours.

At the other end, Vihari stroked a solid 104 off 194 balls as India reached 386 for four at stumps on the second days, for an overall lead of 472 runs.

Hanuma Vihari

IMAGE: Hanuma Vihari celebrates after completing his century. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Also staking a claim for selection is young Shubman Gill, with an elegant 65 off 78 balls, laced 10 sweetly-timed boundaries.

In the final session of play, Pant's aggressive approach paid dividends as he smashed the Australia A bowlers to all corners of the Sydney Cricket Ground, the southpaw making a strong case for himself for the wicketkeeper's job in Adelaide ahead of Test specialist Wriddhiman Saha.

It has been a superb turnaround from India, who were bowled out for 194 on Day 1, which would have been far less if not for pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah's maiden first-class fifty, before the visitors staged a strong comeback with both bat and ball.

Shubman Gill

IMAGE: Shubman Gill celebrates completing his half-century. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

While Gill may have booked himself one of the opening slots with his dazzling strokes, Hanuma's effort might force the Indian team to play an additional batsman in the series opener.

Coming out to bat again in the beginning of the day's play, India lost Prithvi Shaw in the second over as the young right-hander perished for three.

If Shaw missed out on an opportunity to make a big score in good batting conditions, his contemporary Gill grabbed it with both hands on the way to reaching his half-century off 49 balls.

Mayank Agarwal

IMAGE: India opener Mayank Agarwal bats. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

During his stay in the middle, Gill played some elegant drives and looked assured while going on to the backfoot, which seems to be his forte.

However, the 21-year-old got out in an unfortunate manner to leg-spinner Michell Swepson, giving caught off an inside edge by Sean Abbott at first slip, who dived full length to his length to take it inches from the ground.

TV replays were inconclusive and the absence of DRS and Snickometer in the practice game, a disappointed Gill had no option but to walk back to the dressing room as umpire's decision could not be challenged.

That ended a 104-run partnership for the second wicket between Gill and Agarwal, who was joined in by Vihari for another half-century stand.

Hanuma Vihari

IMAGE: Hanuma Vihari in action for India during the tour match. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Thereafter, the duo of Vihari and skipper Ajinkya Rahane was involved in a partnership of 78 runs for the fourth wicket as the Australian bowlers toiled hard for wickets.

There was a brief rain interruption after Pant walked in at the fall of Rahane's wicket but he straightaway played his shots to further unsettle the Australian bowlers.

Even as Vihari showed great composure and patience in collecting his runs, Pant was quite at ease while clearing the fence, reaching his fifty with a cracking square cut in just 43 balls.

Pant continued in same vein till the end of the day's play and hurtled towards his century with a flurry of big hits. While Vihari, in all, struck 13 boundaries.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Harish Kotian© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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World Test Championship - 2021

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