A sensational century from Rishabh Pant and a fighting half-century from Washington Sundar helped India take a healthy first-innings lead in the fourth and final Test against England at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad. At stumps on Day 2, India were 294 for 7, leading England by 89 runs with Washington (60) and Axar Patel (11) in the middle.
Pant, who had made 101 off 118, was the star of the day. It was Pant’s third Test century and first in India.
India began the day 24 for 1 with Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle but slipped to 80 for 4 by the end of the first session. That’s when Rishabh Pant walked in, but he too saw partners deserting him as India slipped to 146 for 6, still 59 behind England’s first innings score of 205. Any lead would have been a huge bonus for England as India had to bat last.
But from 146 for 6, Pant and Washington added 113 for the seventh wicket to take India past England’s score and into a decent lead.
Prior to Washington, Pant stitched a couple of small partnerships with Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin, getting himself into the 30s in the process without much risk. There was the odd big hit like a straight six against Joe Root, but it was largely a calculated knock that was paced well.
That pattern continued even after Washington joined. The duo took India to tea at 153 for 6 – England on top – but grabbed the momentum back in the final session. Pant reached his fifty in 82 balls, Washington mixed caution and aggression, as India went past 200.
Once they reached England’s total, Pant opened up. Pant was 55 off 91 at one stage, and in the next 24 balls, reached his century! Root, Stokes and even James Anderson with the new ball were not spared as Pant switched gears; an audacious reverse scoop off Anderson being the shot of the session.
However, Anderson had the last laugh as a change in length forced Pant to swipe across to mid wicket bringing an end to an entertaining knock. Some more of Pant in the final session could have well put the game beyond England – if it’s not already – but it was a just reward to Anderson who was terrific through the day.
At the other end, Washington went past his third Test half-century, once again impressing under pressure with the bat.
Earlier, India lost Cheteshwar Pujara (17), captain Virat Kohli (0) and Ajinkya Rahane (27) to end the first session of the day on 80/4.Anderson and Ben Stokes were in terrific rhythm while Jack Leach struck first by dismissing Pujara for the fourth time in this series. It ended a 40-run partnership between Pujara and Sharma that had seen India through to the end of play on the first day.
Stokes then dismissed Kohli for a duck. The ball rose on the Indian captain who ended up edging it to the wicketkeeper. Rahane then tried to up the scoring rate and eventually succumbed to Anderson having made 27 off 45 balls.
Ben Stokes then took the all-important wicket of Rohit Sharma (49). The umpire raised his finger after England appealed for LBW and Sharma reviewed the decision. Replays showed that the delivery jagged in to beat Sharma’s inside edge after which impact was shown as umpire’s call. Ashwin (13) was then dismissed late in the session by Leach.