Cheteshwar Pujara missed out on a landmark double century at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday but Rishabh Pant made sure he would remove his helmet and look skyward, soak in the applause as he reached his second Test century against a listless Australia bowling attack.
Rishabh became the first Indian wicket-keeper to score a Test ton in both England and Australia; only the second visiting ‘keeper to score Test centuries in both Australia and England; and he also equalled Moin Khan and Mushfiqur Rahim for most tons by Asian keeper outside the subcontinent.
Earlier, calm and collected number three Pujara was finally caught and bowled by spinner Nathan Lyon after a batting masterclass that spanned a day-and-a-half and 373 balls. It was due reward for the tireless Lyon who also accounted for Hanuma Vihari in the only other wicket to fall so far on day two.
At tea in Sydney, India were 491 for six with impressive young gun Pant quickening the tempo with some exquisite strokes to also close in on a century. He got there soon after tea.
The visitors lead the series 2-1 after winning the opening clash in Adelaide and the third one in Melbourne. Australia claimed victory in Perth.
If India, the world’s top-ranked nation, win or draw in Sydney they will clinch a first-ever series in Australia since they began touring Down Under in 1947-48.
Twitter was full of praise the 21-year-old wicketkeeper batsman, with quite a few babysitter references:
And how about this for a chant from the Bharat Army?