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WTC Final: 3 best Rishabh Pant knocks in Test cricket

Rishabh Pant's century against England in 2021 capped off a wonderful run of performances.
Rishabh Pant's century against England in 2021 capped off a wonderful run of performances.

At one point considered an inconsistent batsman who was a liability behind the stumps, Rishabh Pant has turned things around in style to cement his place in all three formats for India.

Even as his shorter-format returns have fluctuated, his Test career has had a promising start, with an average of 45.27 and an impressive strike rate of 71.47 after 20 matches.

At just 23 years of age, Rishabh Pant is the sixth-ranked batsman in ICC's Test rankings. He is a pivotal part of India's batting line-up, even allowing them to play five bowlers without appearing to compromise the batting. On several occasions, Pant has played knocks to remember - either because of the conditions on offer, or the game situation.

Here's a look at the three best knocks from Rishabh Pant's Test career so far.

Honorable Mention: 89* vs Australia, The Gabba, 2021


#3 114 vs England, The Oval, 2018

Rishabh Pant showed his mettle with a maiden century at the end of his first Test series.
Rishabh Pant showed his mettle with a maiden century at the end of his first Test series.

This was Rishabh Pant's debut series - he had been handed the gloves mid-series after Dinesh Karthik's Test return didn't work out.

Pant was under some pressure heading into the final innings of the final Test against England. Not only was the team 3-1 down in the series, desperately searching for a good finish to a series of missed opportunities, but Pant himself had mustered 48 runs from the preceding five innings with three single-digit scores.

When Rishabh Pant came in to bat in India's second innings, the team was struggling at 121 for 5 in pursuit of a tall target of 464. Joining a well-set KL Rahul, Pant played one of the defining innings of his career, with his century including four sixes and fifteen fours.

Although the chase ended rather quickly once the 204-run stand was brought to an end, Pant's innings - at a strike rate of close to 80 - provided India with a ray of hope at the end of a desolate tour as well as a glimpse into the future.


#2 159* vs Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground, 2019

Rishabh Pant's 159 not out forced Australia to play defensively.
Rishabh Pant's 159 not out forced Australia to play defensively.

India were up 2-1 after three games of a closely-fought series, and were desperate to ensure the scoreline at the end of the fourth game remained a winning one.

Compared to the previous description, Rishabh Pant played with a more significant batting cushion as he walked in with the team at 329-5. But his own form till then had not been remarkable, with him registering scores almost exclusively in the 30s.

Batting with the sturdy Cheteshwar Pujara, with whom he would have a few more partnerships of note to come, Pant combined attack with defence to take India to a towering 622/7 declared. He registered his personal-best score of 159 in the process and batted Australia out of the contest.

Although the match also featured a Kuldeep Yadav five-wicket haul and a Pujara 193, Rishabh Pant's brisk innings was one of the highlights at the end of the series.


#1 97 vs Australia, Sydney Cricket Ground, 2021

Rishabh Pant's burst of attacking shots in Sydney revealed a new element in India's Test batting arsenal.
Rishabh Pant's burst of attacking shots in Sydney revealed a new element in India's Test batting arsenal.

This innings from Rishabh Pant wasn't converted into a hundred. However, it would form a template of selfless batting to come on that tour of Australia and the subsequent series against England - one of going for runs and putting the opposition under pressure, even giving up personal milestones in the process.

India were chasing a daunting 407 runs in the second innings, with a relatively new opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill at the top and no Virat Kohli available. Pant's returns since the last time he played at Sydney were waning, and when Ajinkya Rahane nicked behind to leave the team at 102/3, it seemed like a matter of time.

India then chose to promote Rishabh Pant ahead of the usual No. 5, Hanuma Vihari, to provide some impetus to the innings. While Pujara at the other end displayed steely concentration and defence, Pant mounted a counter-attack for the ages, being particularly severe on Nathan Lyon's spin. The innings changed Australia's calculus, as an Indian win began to look plausible out of nowhere.

The Rishabh Pant show ended with a miscue, and the match was then best remembered for Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin's brave, injury-defying blockathon. But Pant's knock was crucial in giving India a chance.

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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