Rishabh Pant smashes 19 boundaries and four sixes in stunning fifth Test century to see India recover from 98-5 to 338-7 by stumps; Watch day two at Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports Cricket, with coverage starting at 9.45am and play getting under way from 10.30am on Saturday
Saturday 2 July 2022 07:41, UK
Rishabh Pant smashed a sensational 146 from 111 deliveries to rescue India from 98-5 on day one of the rescheduled fifth LV= Insurance Test against England, the visitors ultimately closing on 338-7 at Edgbaston.
Pant cracked 19 boundaries and four sixes in a blistering assault on a shell-shocked England attack, which had earlier done a fine job of dismantling the Indian top order.
James Anderson (3-52) dismissed both openers before a lengthy rain delay interrupted proceedings, while Matthew Potts (2-85) claimed the key wicket of Virat Kohli (11) as part of a double strike from the Durham seamer soon after the resumption.
Sam Billings then produced a superb diving grab to dismiss Shreyas Iyer (15) as he tickled a glove down the leg side off Anderson, leaving India five down before reaching 100.
But Pant, who had already signalled his intent by charging Anderson early in his innings, launched a quite incredible counter and, ably supported by Ravindra Jadeja (83no) in a 222-run stand, had India in control by stumps, despite the fall of his and Shardul Thakur's wickets late in the day.
As Pant proved, it's a fine batting surface that has been produced at Edgbaston, making England's efforts in the morning - after Ben Stokes opted to bowl first under cloudy skies - all the more impressive.
Shubman Gill (17) couldn't resist a prod at a back-of-a-length delivery dangled outside his off stump that he should have rather left alone, Zak Crawley swallowing up the catch at second slip.
Crawley could have snaffled another, but put down Hanuma Vihari when on six off the bowling of Potts, admittedly a much trickier chance diving away to his right. Stuart Broad (0-53), meanwhile, was denied his 550th Test wicket after Cheteshwar Pujara, initially given out caught behind, had the decision overturned on review as the ball only flicked his thigh pad.
But Pujara (13) soon departed, failing to add further to his score, with Crawley again in the action as Anderson found some swing to take the nick through to him in the slips.
It brought Kohli to the crease but his battle with Anderson that the Edgbaston crowd had been eagerly awaiting was rudely interrupted by the rain.
The two-hour delay didn't disrupt England's momentum, however, with Kohli very nearly perishing to Potts' first ball back, coming perilously close to chopping onto his stumps.
Potts was causing the former Indian captain all sorts of problems and, shortly after picking up Vihari (20) lbw to a nip-backer that kept low, he did ultimately claim Kohli's wicket to a near identical delivery to that which troubled him first up, this time the ball sent crashing into his stumps as he left it too late to leave.
Anderson and Billings combined superbly to do for Shreyas, but from there Pant took charge of the Test with his audacious and, at times, ridiculous display of hitting.
Potts and Jack Leach (0-71) were targeted, in particular, while even the great Anderson wasn't safe, as Pant repeatedly charged England's greatest ever Test bowler, arrogantly swatting a couple of boundaries straight back past him. He also attempted a Joe Root-style reverse-ramp and slog-sweep off successive deliveries with less success and wisely put those shots away thereafter.
The fifty stand came up between him and Jadeja in quick time as he blasted 14 off three deliveries in one Leach over, finishing with a glorious straight six. Pant then brought up his personal half century, off 51 balls, shortly before the tea interval.
After the break, Pant was even more destructive still as he raced through to remarkable fifth Test century off just 89 deliveries.
Leach was again the victim as a couple of big mows aimed to leg - the first reaching the midwicket fence as intended and the second swinging Pant off his feet and ending straighter - helped take the left-hander to within two of his ton, which he duly reached with a quick-scampered two to start Broad's next.
Jadeja's fifty, off a hardly sluggish 109 balls, followed in the same over, the allrounder so often the scourge of England hardly putting a foot wrong throughout his knock - with the exception of one edge off Broad when on five that Root was unsure if he claimed cleanly at slip and wasn't given by the third umpire.
Pant continued to pile into Leach, 22 plundered from the left-arm spinner's ninth and final over of the day, which included another couple of sweetly-struck sixes straight down the ground, the second of which was almost hit one-handed.
Root (1-23) instead came on for a bowl and, although he didn't escape punishment, he did end Pant's incredible innings a ball after he too was smashed for six - Crawley with a sharp take at slip
Stokes (1-34), who again struggled mightily with bowling no-balls, added the wicket of Shardul Thakur (1) to one such bonus delivery, the eighth of his over, to see India seven down by stumps after a hugely absorbing day's cricket.
Watch day two of the rescheduled fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India, at Edgbaston, live on Sky Sports Cricket, with coverage starting at 9.45am and play getting under way from 10.30am on Saturday.