Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya has responded to his critics in an emphatic fashion after bagging his maiden five-wicket haul against England during the third Test at Nottingham today. Pandya's figures of 5/28 helped India fold the visitors for a mere 161 and take a huge 168 runs lead in the first innings against the hosts.
This is the first time that Pandya has made such a huge impact with the ball in hand for India in Tests. Before the current match, West Indies bowling great Michael Holding had said that Hardik is not yet the all-rounder India wants him to be, because he is ineffective as a bowler and also not scoring enough runs with the bat. However, the 24-year old has replied to Holding in the best possible way by giving his team a great chance to come back into the 5 match series.
For the first time in this series, the Indian bowlers showed what they are capable of. After the 50-run stand between the opening duo, the visitors did not allow any other pair to stitch any kind of partnership. The destroyer-in-chief Pandya went through the middle order and was nicely supported by his colleagues who were into the wickets column as well.
The all-rounder had a disappointing tour before this match. In Birmingham, Pandya failed to pick up a wicket and scored 22 and 31 in the two innings he played. In the 2nd Test at Lord's, he had a figure of 3/66 and scored 11 and 26 runs in the two innings.
Pandya made his Test debut last July in Sri Lanka, scoring a fifty in Galle and followed it with his maiden Test century in Pallekelle in his third Test.
He has played nine Tests so far and, barring the home series against Sri Lanka for which he was rested late last year, he has been the only constant in the Indian Test XI along with captain Virat Kohli.
(With PTI Inputs)