19-year-old Rishabh Pant has smashed a triple-century in only his fourth FC match, scoring 308 runs from 326 balls. As a result of the Haridwar lad’s heroics, Delhi reached very close to taking three points from the ongoing Ranji Trophy match against Maharashtra, but fell short of the first innings lead by 45 runs. After Pant’s dismissal in the last session of the match, the rest of the side collapsed, giving Maharashtra the three points.
In what was an unusually high scoring match, Maharashtra had piled on a first innings total of 635/2, built on an unbroken 594-run partnership between Swapnil Gugale and Ankit Bawne. Both batsmen had batted for almost two days, facing around 500 balls each, Gugale scoring 351 and Bawne scoring 258. Nobody would have guessed that the real batting masterclass in the match was still to come though.
With a mountain of runs to bat against, Delhi lost wickets at regular intervals on Day 3, and it looked like Maharashtra’s match to win. Pant, who had burst onto international acclaim with his attacking displays at the top of India’s batting order in the U-19 World Cup earlier this year, is playing his first full season for the Delhi side, slotted at No.5.
Pant combined with Dhruv Shorey and Milind Kumar for 100+ run partnerships, with the teenager scoring the bulk of the runs in both the stands. However, at 395/6, and the tail exposed, the threat of a follow-on still remained.
Until Pant found an able partner in Varun Sood on Day 4, who patiently held guard at one end while Pant took his game to the next level of aggression. The ball flew to all parts of the ground, and at one stage, even Pant’s bat was seen flying to the square leg region, such was the cavalier approach adopted by the youngster.
Pant’s place in FC history
This is the first instance in a Ranji Trophy match when three batsmen have registered scores of over 250. Pant’s triple century, the second of the match, has been without doubt the most swashbuckling.
His 514-minute vigil brought life back into a game that had seemed to be a one-sided clash. Batting at a strike rate of 94.5, he smashed 42 fours and 9 sixes. After reaching the 300-mark, he hit one last six before being stumped off left arm spinner Satyajeet Bachhav.
Pant has also scripted history by becoming the youngest wicketkeeper to score a triple century in first class cricket in the world. He is only the second wicketkeeper with a 300 in Ranji Trophy history. Raman Lamba, whose 312 remains the highest score for a Delhi batsman, had been the last player from the state to score a triple century, in the 1994/95 season.
Pant is also the third youngest Indian to score a triple-century in first-class cricket, after Wasim Jaffer and Abhinav Mukund. He is the fourth youngest in the world, after Jaffer, Mukund and Javed Miandad.