"Saini 3, we have to run 3!" - Rishabh Pant recalls hilarious winning moment of the Gabba Test

Rishabh Pant and Navdeep Saini celebrate as Team India breach the Gabba fortress after 32 years
Rishabh Pant and Navdeep Saini celebrate as Team India breach the Gabba fortress after 32 years

Indian wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has recalled the moment Team India completed one of their most famous Test wins on foreign soil at the Gabba. The incredible victory also sealed the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1 in favor of the visitors.

Pant played the innings of his life, as his unbeaten 89* helped Team India chase down the target of 328 runs with three wickets to spare.

Despite a humiliating defeat in Adelaide and a plethora of injuries, India came back to win the series, showing character and determination.

Speaking to Sports Today, Rishabh Pant gave details about his winning shot.

Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood bowled a wide yorker and Pant got enough bat on it to guide the ball down the ground. He urged non-striker Navdeep Saini to run three, forgetting that the fast bowler had injured his groin during the Test match.

"When I played the last shot, I felt the ball hit the bottom of the bat. The outfield was also slow. So when the ball was travelling, I told Saini (non-striker). I told him Saini '3, not 2 but 3'. His groin injury slipped my mind and I was running fast," Rishabh Pant said.

After running the first one hard, Rishabh Pant realized that the fielder at mid-off wasn't even trying to chase the ball. That was the moment he looked back and saw that the ball was gradually making its way to the boundary.

Pant added in this regard:

"First run, I closed my eyes and ran. While running the second run, I noticed that the mid-off fielder didn't even chase the ball. I was wondering 'why is this fielder not running?'. Then I noticed, the ball was going towards the boundary, then I was filled with joy. I was shouting 'Saini 3, we have to run 3'. Saini was running on one leg. It was fun."

Rishabh Pant's coming of age in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant

Having not played the first Test, Rishabh Pant had a point to prove to himself more than anyone else that he was good enough to play at the highest level.

His quickfire 29 in the second Test in Melbourne gave Team India the momentum to go on and post a huge first-innings lead. This eventually helped the visitors level the series with an emphatic eight-wicket win.

The left-hander also looked good in the first innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), but was struck by a short-ball on his elbow. After the blow, he didn't look the same batsman and soon perished, needlessly edging a wide ball to the slips.

However, Rishabh Pant made the second innings in Sydney count big time. He scored a blistering 97 runs that brought Team India to the cusp of a memorable victory.

But his dismissal, coupled with the visitors' other injury woes, meant that India had to battle hard and save the Test. The 23-year-old was getting off to good starts but wasn't able to play a match-winning innings.

Nevertheless, chose the biggest stage to unleash himself - the Gabba - a venue where Australia hadn't tasted defeat since 1988.

Chasing 328 runs for victory, Team India had lost Rohit Sharma early. Shubman Gill departed following a brilliant 91, and stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane was also dismissed soon after.

With 162 runs required off about 43 overs, the stage was set for Rishabh Pant to prove his match-winning ability.

The youngster formed crucial partnerships with Cheteshwar Pujara and then with Washington Sundar towards the end. His innings of 89* proved exactly what he was capable of doing when backed properly.

Rishabh Pant ended as Team India's highest run-scorer in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, scoring 274 runs from three Tests at a fantastic average of 68.50.

Edited by Arjun Panchadar
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