Team India wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant has had a horror of a start to the 3rd Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground dropping two sitters. He has once again ignited the debate whether a team should field a specialist wicket-keeper in Test cricket or a batsman who can keep wickets.
Oozing with confidence coming back from a terrific win in Melbourne, India made a couple of changes in the squad bringing Rohit Sharma and handing debut cap to Navdeep Saini in place of Umesh Yadav, who was ruled out of the remainder of the series.
Meanwhile, asked to bowl first in Sydney, Mohammed Siraj gave India with a fiery start removing returning David Warner cheaply before rain halted the game. Brisk drizzle forced the umpires to take an early lunch and once play resumed Australian batsmen – Will Pucovski and Marnus Labuschagne looked in complete control of things.
Rishabh Pant drops two catches
Siraj and Ravichandran Ashwin bowled their heart out and created chances but poor keeping from Rishabh Pant got the chances begging. First up, Pant dropped a dolly off Ashwin giving life to debutant Pucovski before Mohammed Siraj once again hurried the Aussie opener with a well-directed bouncer.
The ball kissed the gloves of Will Pucovski on his way to Rishabh Pant who spilled it out as he leaped backward to grab it. He managed to take it on the second attempt, but the ball had hit the ground by then as the TV umpire ruled out a fair catch.
And following that, he played some fearless cricket. Marnus Labuschagne also played some impressive shots too as he supported the debutant. Navdeep Saini bowled his only over just before the tea break but didn’t look impressive as Australia went to tea at 93 for 1 with Will Pucovski notching his first fifty.
Meanwhile, Rishabh Pant was under the scanner on microblogging site Twitter and he received a lot of flaks from the netizens who said that these dropped chances can prove to be costly for India as the game progresses.
Pant might be a slightly better bat than Saha and a louder voice but not even a comparison with the gloves. Costly misses here as well as the ones in Melbourne. Average against spin with stiff hands / poor technique. Feel for Saha deeply
— Darren Berry (@ChuckBerry1969) January 7, 2021
Really poor keeping from Pant, to (twice) deny India deserved wickets. Ashwin and Siraj had done really well to build the pressure, and while it's not dissipated yet, you feel like that was A Turning Point. #AUSvIND
— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) January 7, 2021
Rishabh Pant as Wicket Keeper. pic.twitter.com/ZPYPfYPgf7
— AFC Abhi (@AfcAbhi) January 7, 2021
Looks like teams are taking turn to drop catches. Pant has dropped two in ten minutes #INDvAUS
— Sambit Bal (@sambitbal) January 7, 2021
Pant drops Pucovski off Ashwin. Then manages to drop Pucovski twice off the same ball from Siraj. When you pick keepers on batting you can't expect different. #AUSvIND
— Anand Vasu (@anandvasu) January 7, 2021
Two chances squandered already. At this level there is no hiding place for such profligacy. Pant really does need to improve his wicket-keeping skills to be no.1 choice keeper
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) January 7, 2021
Is there any procedure to drop a player in middle of match? Asking for Rishabh Pant before he drops the match.
— EngiNerd. (@mainbhiengineer) January 7, 2021
Pant can't catch. https://t.co/ch7vUVLPQa
— Daniel Alexander (@daniel86cricket) January 7, 2021
— Vikrant Gupta (@vikrantgupta73) January 7, 2021