Former Indian cricketer and present BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, on Friday, was effusive in his praise for young Rishabh Pant after the wicketkeeper-batsman scored a sensational counter-attacking century to give India a handy lead at the end of day 2 of the fourth and final Test against England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Entering at 80 for four in the 38th over, Pant managed a comfortable 41-run stand alongside a settled Rohit Sharma before Ben Stokes removed the opener. India then lost Ravichandran Ashwin and almost Pant had Nitin Memon not called it wrong before the stroke of tea. But post the break, a far more determined Pant stepped out and captivated on England's nervy start in the final session to notch up his century and consolidate India's lead in the first innings.
"How good is he? Unbelievable..what a knock under pressure...not the first time and won't be the last time..will be an all time great in all formats in the years to come.keep batting in this aggressive manner .thats why will be match winner and special..@bcci @RishabhPant17," tweeted Ganguly.
This was Pant's maiden Test century on home soil and third overall which ties him with teammate Wriddhiman Saha for the most hundreds by an Indian wicketkeeper-batsman. Only MS Dhoni with six such knocks stands ahead.
"The plan was just to build a partnership when I joined Rohit, that was the only thing on my mind. I was thinking I would assess the pitch and then play my shots. If the bowlers are bowling well respect it and take the singles, and that was on my mind. I like to play the situation and I just see the ball and react - that's the USP (unique selling point) of my game. The team plan was to get to 206, past the England total, and then get as many runs as possible after that." Pant said at end of day 2.
India now have an 89-run lead with Washingon Sundar on 60, accompanied by Axar Patel on 11.