Rishabh Pant played a brilliant knock of 76 runs on day 2 of the warm-up game between India and Leicestershire. In an innings that lasted 87 deliveries, Pant smashed 14 boundaries and a maximum.
The highlight of his innings was the way he maturely played - took his time in the beginning, and then blasted in the end. But his six to Umesh Yadav to reach to his fifty is a close second.
Umesh Yadav erred just a little in his line, Pant got down on one knee and tried to sweep it over fine leg. The ball took the top edge and flew over the boundary ropes.
It is worth noting that this inning was really important for Pant and Team India. The wk-batter was under the scanner for his poor returns in the home series vs South Africa. This should help him gain his confidence back.
Heading into the all-important fifth test vs England at Edgbaston, India would need Pant to be in his element.
India vs Leicestershire - Day 2 - Report
Responding to India's 246 for eight declared after a day of multiple rain interruptions, Leicestershire were primed to take a sizable lead over the tourists when Pant was in his element.
But the possibility died down with the swashbuckling batter's dismissal, thanks to a good catch by Shreyas Iyer off the bowling of left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
This was after they were reeling at 138 for six at one stage of the innings. Leicestershire's first innings ended at 244, two less than India's total.
Meanwhile, seamer Mohammad Shami was seen jumping on Cheteshwar Pujara's back to celebrate his wicket, even as the batter walked back to the dressing room smiling. Pujara, who was out for a duck, is part of the Leicestershire XI in the match.
The 24-year-old Pant, who oversaw the Indian team's excellent comeback in the T20I series against South Africa at home but struggled to score runs and got out in an identical fashion, played some fine shots here on Friday.
There was a lovely cover drive against Mohammed Shami while he was engaged in some sort of a battle with the world-class India seamer. Then, Pant used the pace of Umesh Yadav and played a scoop for a six to bring up his half-century.
Besides Pant, Rishi Patel and Roman Walker contributed 34 each for the hosts. Among the Indian bowlers, Shami and Jadeja were the most successful with figures of 3/42 and 3/28 respectively.
There were two wickets apiece for Shardul Thakur, who was taken to the task by Pant and Co, and Mohammed Siraj. Thakur's lack of pace helped the batters play him without any difficulty.
Opening the batting a day after his unbeaten 70 in the first essay, Srikar Bharat (31 not out) and Shubman Gill (38) added 62 runs for the first wicket when India batted for the second time in the four-day match.
Gill was bowled by Will Davis after his 34-ball knock, during which he hit eight fours.
Hanuma Vihari (9) was giving Bharat company when the stumps were drawn with India ahead by 82 runs. India were 84 for one at the close of play and is now leading by 82 runs. Tomorrow promises to be a moving day.