Former England captain Nasser Hussain said that wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant had shown that he is adept at batting in more than one style. He added that it was noticeable how responsibly Pant was batting on day four of the Test at The Oval.
Pant scored a half-century off 106 balls and shared a century stand with Shardul Thakur. The 23-year-old took his time to settle down and resisted falling into the traps set by England’s bowlers.
“It was also noticeable how much more responsibly Rishabh Pant batted, and it helped him that the guy at the other end when he came in was Virat Kohli. If Pant had danced down the track early on and slapped it to cover, Kohli would have given him a glare – or worse,” wrote Hussain in his column for Daily Mail on Monday.
“Instead, Pant showed he is capable of batting in more than one style. And in fairness, he’s done it before. At Chennai earlier this year, he sat on England’s bowlers before getting stuck into Ben Stokes and Jimmy Anderson with the new ball. And you could tell he was furious when he got out, caught and bowled by Moeen Ali. He knew he’d done the hard work by getting to 50 — and the real fun was about to begin.”
Hussain felt that England skipper Joe Root’s unimpressive field settings allowed Pant to rotate strike and find his groove easily.
“I also felt Root got it wrong with the field he gave Pant. Because he was batting responsibly for the first time in the series, Root should have dangled some kind of carrot by bringing deepish mid-off up, and tempting Pant to hit over the top.
“Instead, he kept the fielder back, which allowed Pant to push easy singles. He was trying to be sensible, which is why England had to tempt him out of his shell. They didn’t, which summed up their day: long, hot and extremely frustrating,” added Hussain.
The 53-year-old was in full praise of India’s lower order contributing with crucial knocks to set a target of 368 for England.
“Whenever the India XI has flashed up at the start of a Test this summer, one of the first thoughts has been the length of their tail. But fair play to them. Their lower order have worked on their batting and on Sunday- for the third time in the series — they made an important contribution.
“First there was Lord’s on the last morning, when Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah put on 89 and took the game away from England. Then, on the first day here, Shardul Thakur helped turn a potential 150 all out into 191, which kept his side in the game.
On Sunday, the last four added 150, with Thakur scoring another half-century, and Bumrah and Umesh Yadav again making useful runs.
“They saw how New Zealand’s lower order outperformed their own during the World Test Championship final in Southampton, and decided to do something about it. I take my hat off to them,” signed off Hussain.