Twelve overs after Pant’s entry, Rohit Sharma was out for 49 off 144 balls. He faced 90 balls from England’s fast bowlers and scored 19 runs off them. This was a batsman who came into this game with a series strike rate of 80.98 against fast bowling. The conditions clearly weren’t made for flat-bat drives through the covers. Not just yet, anyway. Pant would have to bide his time. He’d have to take 28 balls to get into double figures.
But there were clear incentives in front of him. Jimmy Andersons’ first delivery with the second new ball was charged at and slapped back past mid-off for four. In the following over Rishabh Pant played a reverse-scoop off James Anderson. You don’t do what he did to James Anderson. But then, you’re not Rishabh Pant. There’s audacity, and there’s plain disrespect. England’s leading wicket taker in the longest format of the game was in a state of shock and awe at what had just happened to him. Pant’s audacious shot to collect a boundary off Anderson lit up the fans as well as the players on social media as former cricketers and fans applauded the courageous knock by the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman.
This is not the first time Pant has shown his intent and his attacking style of play. He is the man at the heart of those displays at the SCG and the Gabba where India was in difficult positions and managed to draw and win the test matches respectively.