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'Pant's fabulous innings got us back in the game'

January 13, 2022 23:26 IST

'It wasn't an easy wicket to bat on but (he) showed a lot of character out there, really pleased.'

India's Rishabh Pant pulls one to the boundary during the morning session on Day 3 of the third Test against South Africa, at Cape Town, on Thursday.

IMAGE: India's Rishabh Pant pulls one to the boundary during the morning session on Day 3 of the third Test against South Africa, at Cape Town, on Thursday. Photograph: Sumaya Hisham/Reuters

Extremely pleased with the way Rishabh Pant batted in the second innings, India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said the stumper-batter got runs when the team needed them the most.

Pant produced a combative, unbeaten hundred in the face some hostile bowling by the home bowlers in difficult conditions to enable India set South Africa a 212-run target on Day 3 of the third and deciding Test, in Cape Town, on Thursday.

 

"It was a fabulous innings that really got us back in the game. From a personal perspective there is pressure on him (Pant). Obviously. In a couple of innings he didn't get runs but getting runs at a crucial stage for the team, that is important," said Mhambrey, after the end of the third day's play.

Pant faced criticism for his poor shot-selection in his previous innings but came up with a stunning knock on Thursday.

"And it really set the game (up) nicely for us and I think (I’m) really happy with the way he played. It wasn't an easy wicket to bat on but (he) showed a lot of character out there, really pleased," added Mhambrey.

The coach was pleased that Pant responded to the situation in the best possible manner, as he did not play any rash shot and stayed focussed on building partnerships.

"At that stage, you wanted a partnership ideally and you have someone like Virat (Kohli) at the other end; you wanted to stitch a nice partnership, which was going on.

"At that stage, as a batsman, you will (have to) sometimes take a back seat as well and assess the conditions and say what is the right thing at that stage. In terms of going ahead for the game and in that sense he (Pant) batted very well."

Mhambrey said Pant realised that after his skipper was dismissed, he had to take the leader's role at the crease.

"Once you lost Virat, he had to take that leading role and which he did and then stitched partnerships with the tail-enders as well. He batted very sensibly, given us a great opportunity to win a Test from here."

Mhambrey was hopeful that conditions would allow his pacers a fair chance for a fight and all they need is to just hit the right lengths.

"It is not an easy wicket. I think there is a little awkward bounce on a patch, which has been created, but it is not going to be an easy wicket.

"We still know that even today in the later stages, a couple of balls did kick up, hit the glove, hit the chest. Keep it simple, hit the right areas and be patient about it."

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