Australian star batsman Steve Smith lauded India's wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant for arguably playing the innings of his life on Day 5 at the Gabba to help Team India win the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
The left-hander scored an unbeaten 89 and hit the winning runs to help Team India chase down a daunting 328-run target to breach Australia's Gabba fortress - a venue where the hosts had not lost in 31 years.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Steve Smith explained what made Rishabh Pant such a successful batsman even in the longest format of the game.
"I thought obviously Rishabh at the end, he is an exceptional talent as we have seen. He played a pretty amazing innings on a Day-5 wicket. He took the game on, played in his areas. We have seen in short-form cricket in particular how good he is and where he can hit the ball, and that was a pretty special innings today," Steve Smith said.
Steve Smith also applauds the efforts of Rishabh Pant's teammates Cheteshwar Pujara and Shubman Gill
Steve Smith believes young Shubman Gill batted with complete freedom and that is what helped him up the ante when Cheteshwar Pujara was settling at the other end on the fifth day of the Test. Gill played a fine innings of 91 and counter-attacked Australia's short-ball tactics to perfection.
The 32-year-old Pujara took the sting out of the Australian pace attack with his obdurate knock of 56 from 211 balls. Steve Smith credited the India number three for wearing down the Australian bowlers, which helped the likes of Rishabh Pant score quick runs later in the innings.
"Credit to India I think, they came out and played some really good cricket today. They absorbed pressure when they needed to, which I thought Pujara did really well. He faced a lot of balls and wore our bowlers down. Shubman Gill played a really good innings," Steve Smith asserted.
With a plethora of first-team players missing at the Gabba, a depleted Team-India displayed enormous grit and resilience to eke out arguably the finest away win in the nation's cricket history.
The series triumph was sweeter because Australia were at near full-strength but came up second best against the Rishabh Pant-inspired visitors at one of their favourite venues.