Team India defied all the odds to save the Sydney Test against Australia which has earned them praise from all quarters including former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting. The talisman pointed out one masterstroke played by Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane which changed the landscape of the game at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Meanwhile, India were in a spot of bother when they came out to bat on day 5 of the Test match with Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara. The misery double as the skipper walked back to the pavilion only in the second over of the day’s play. While many expected the visitors to go down the drain from there on, Ajinkya Rahane pulled off one of the greatest masterstroke sending in Rishabh Pant ahead of Hanuma Vihari.
Send Pant was a masterstroke from Ajinkya Rahane – Ricky Ponting
The southpaw battled an arm injury and went on to play a fiery knock of 97, reviving hopes of an India win. Although the victory was denied but Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin were able to snatch a memorable draw. Speaking at the Unplayable Podcast, Ricky Ponting hailed Ajinkya Rahane’s decision to send Pant above as a “masterstroke”.
“Very good proactive captaincy or coaching for sending Rishabh up. For India to stay in with a chance to win, they needed to do that. He had a little bit of luck with Paine putting him down a couple of times,” Ponting said.
“It’s not all crash and bang with him, there is a lot of skill involved, and he is proper test match batsman to the point today where a lot of the commentators were saying can he play as a batsman in the middle order and have Saha keep,” Ricky Ponting added.
Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant started off slow managing only 5 runs from the first 35 deliveries before cutting loose against Aussie spinner Nathan Lyon. He smacked three sixes off Lyon on a wearing fifth-day SCG pitch. Although he missed his century by three runs, but Pant’s 148-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara helped India massively to save the match.
Ricky Ponting showered a lot of praise on the youngster, whom he knows from close quarters having being worked at the Delhi Capitals in the IPL. The former Aussie skipper believes this knock will help him seal the wicket-keeper’s spot in red-ball cricket in the long run.
“It was a masterstroke to put him up there, but he still got to play that innings, and he did it. He does it in his own way; he does it with a bit of swagger and confidence. Taking on Lyon like he did, even with fielders out says he backs himself and his skillset. I said at the start of the series that there is a chance for him to cement himself as India’s keeper-batsman for the next 10-12 years and innings like today will go a long way in helping that,” Ricky Ponting concluded.