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PIX: Magnificent Pant takes India to 338/7 on Day 1

Source: PTI
Last updated on: July 02, 2022 00:31 IST
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IMAGES from Day 1 of the rescheduled 5th Test between England  and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Friday. 

 Rishabh Pant of India celebrates on completing his century

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant of India celebrates on completing his century. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Rishabh Pant played a knock for the ages to turn the tables on England and take India to an imposing 338 for seven on a rain-hit day one of the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham on Friday.

 

At 98 for five, India were staring down the barrel but Pant (146 off 111 balls) scripted a remarkable turnaround in the company of Ravindra Jadeja (83 batting off 163) as the duo shared a match changing 222-run stand off 239 balls.

Pant, who rendered the England bowlers helpless, hammered 20 boundaries and four sixes, in his awe-inspiring effort.

Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja put on a match-changing 222-run stand

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja put on a match-changing 222-run stand. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

The rain in the morning meant only 73 overs could be bowled on the opening day.  

Having faced criticism for his struggles in white-ball cricket recently, Pant continued his love affair with the red-ball format by smashing his fifth century overall and fourth in overseas conditions.

The conditions and match situation was against him but he once again thrived on it to leave the opposition frustrated.             

As only he could, he danced down the track against the great James Anderson, reverse scooped him but also played conventional strokes, including the straight drives and back foot punches, en route to the fastest hundred (89 balls) by an Indian wicket-keeper. 

Joe Root of England celebrates taking the wicket of Rishabh Pant.

IMAGE: Joe Root of England celebrates taking the wicket of Rishabh Pant. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

In the nervous 90s, he fell on the ground while going aerial over Jack Leach but that still fetched him a four before reaching three figures in the following over.

Stokes fancied Leach's chances against Pant but the ploy failed miserably as the southpaw collected boundaries off the left-arm spinner at will. Leach ended up with day's figures of 0/71 in nine overs. Pant went ballistic in what happened to be Leach's last over of the day, clobbering him two sixes and as many fours.

With a couple of hundreds in England, one each in Australia and South Africa, Pant has already walked into the list of the finest wicketkeeper-batters to have come out of India.

The 24-year-old's epic innings came to an end towards close of play with part-timer Joe Root providing the much needed breakthrough.  

An aggressive Ravindra Jadeja is batting on 83

IMAGE: An aggressive Ravindra Jadeja is batting on 83. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Jadeja, who enjoyed Pant's audacious stroke from the other end, also played a major role in India's remarkable recovery and produced some delightful drives on the way. 

After overs were lost in the first two sessions due to rain, the evening session was played in bright sunshine.   

Pant and Jadeja's counter-attacking partnership had helped India recover to 174 for five at tea after the visitors lost half their side shortly after lunch.

India batsman Rishabh Pant dances down the wicket to hit Jack Leach for a six.

IMAGE: India batsman Rishabh Pant dances down the wicket to hit Jack Leach for a six. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Earlier, Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja's counter-attacking partnership helped India recover to 174 for five at tea on day one.

Pant (53 batting off 52) and Jadeja (32 batting off 65) put an unbeaten 76-run stand off 101 balls to script India's fightback.

Rain delayed the start of the second session by an hour and England were all over India soon after play resumed, reducing the visitors to 98 for five.

England bowler Matthew Potts appeals successfully for the wicket of India batsman Hanuma Vihari

IMAGE: England bowler Matthew Potts appeals successfully for the wicket of India batsman Hanuma Vihari. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

While James Anderson did the damaged in the morning, Matthew Potts got the prized wicket of an out-of-form Virat Kohli (11) and a shaky Hanuma Vihari (20) post lunch to put England on top. 

Vihari was the first to go after Potts trapped him in front of the stumps with a full ball that darted back sharply.

Virat Kohli is bowled by England bowler Matthew Potts

IMAGE: Virat Kohli is bowled by Matthew Potts. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

In his following over, Potts sent back Kohli, who dragged one on to his stumps in his half-hearted attempt to leave the ball.

The former India skipper had looked quite assured in the middle until he was caught in two minds while leaving the ball.

England wicketkeeper Sam Billings is congratulated after taking a catch to see the back of India's Shreyas Iyer.

IMAGE: England wicketkeeper Sam Billings is congratulated after taking a catch to see the back of India's Shreyas Iyer. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Shreyas Iyer (15 off 11), playing his first Test outside India, started on an aggressive note by collecting three fours off Potts. However, Anderson and the support staff had done their homework on Iyer, who has had issues against the short ball.

The 39-year-old pacer angled one around the rib cage area that induced a faint edge on way to Sam Billings, who took a brilliant one handed catch diving full-stretched to his left.

India looked down and out at that stage and fresh lease of life was infused in the innings by the two southpaws, Pant and Jadeja.

India's Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja walk off for the field at tea

IMAGE: India's Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja walk off for the field at tea. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters

Pant has made a reputation of taking the attack to the opposition even when chips are down and he just did that in the company of the more experienced Jadeja.

Pant made his intent loud and clear by advancing and smashing Anderson down the ground. Jadeja too played his strokes with the highlight being the straight drive and cover drive off Broad.

Put under pressure, Stokes went for the gamble by giving the ball to left-arm spinner Jack Leach.

Pant was more than happy to take the bait and hammered left-arm spinner Jack Leach for two fours and a straight six to push India towards 150.

He got to his 10th half-century with a four off Leach towards deep square leg.   

England's James Anderson celebrates dismissing India's Shubman Gill

IMAGE: England's James Anderson celebrates dismissing India's Shubman Gill. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

England's most decorated pacer James Anderson produced probing spells in the rain-hit morning session to reduce India to 53 for two at lunch on day one of the rescheduled fifth Test in Birmingham on Friday.

Rain forced the lunch break 20 minutes before time with Hanuma Vihari (14 batting off 46 balls) and Virat Kohli (1 batting off 7) in the middle.

Anderson had openers Shubman Gill (17 off 24) and Cheteshwar Pujara (13 off 46) caught by Zak Crawley at second slip to give England the advantage after Ben Stokes opted to 'chase' at Edgbaston.

England's Zak Crawley reacts after dropping India's Hanuma Vihari 

IMAGE: England's Zak Crawley reacts after dropping India's Hanuma Vihari. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

India could have been three down had Crawley held on to a tough chance presented by Vihari off Matthew Potts.

In overcast conditions, it was expected to be a tough session for India, who came into the final match of the series after playing a four-day warm-up game.              

England, on the other hand, came battle hardened following a morale boosting whitewash of reigning world Test champions New Zealand.

Batting in English conditions is arguably the toughest test for opening batters and the job gets tougher with Anderson and Stuart Broad holding the new ball.

Gill promised a lot during his stay in the middle. He began with a boundary with a flick through mid-wicket off Anderson before producing a glorious straight drive. Then came the pull shot off Broad and it seemed Gill was ready for the challenge.

James Anderson celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Cheteshwar Pujara 

IMAGE: England's James Anderson celebrates with team mates after dismissing India's Cheteshwar Pujara. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

However, one is never set while playing in England and a poor shot led to Gill's downfall. Anderson is relentless around the off-stump but this particular ball was on the wider side and Gill could have left it alone but he poked at it to be caught at second slip.

After a five-over burst, Anderson returned to dismiss Pujara for the 12th time in his career. Pujara, who got back into the Indian team after a prolific run in county cricket, got a beauty on the off-stump that straightened and bounced off good length to take the outside edge.

Pujara had looked solid until he was undone by Anderson's brilliance.

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