India's Test wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant has revealed that not being able to win the SCG Test after India were in a good position was more heart-breaking and he didn't feel bad for missing out on a ton. Pant also stated that the feeling of the series win is still sinking in.
After losing skipper Ajinkya Rahane early on the fifth day of the SCG Test, the big partnership between Chesteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant brought India back into the game. When Pant was going hammer and tongs at the Aussie bowlers, his counter-attacking knock gave India a glimmer of a hope in what looked like an improbable win for the tourists. But, much to the disappointment of the 23-year-old and India, he was dismissed on 97 and that was not only missing a well deserved century for the southpaw but also took away the hopes of an Indian win.
Reflecting on the 97 in the third Test at SCG, the Indian Test gloveman has revealed that missing the century didn't feel bad though not being able to win the game for the country was heart-breaking as India were in a good position to win the Test.
"I was feeling bad not because of missing a century, but because I was thinking about the match. We had the game in our grasp. Pujji bhai (Cheteshwar Pujara) and I were playing, and winning the match would have been different. That was more heart-breaking for me than missing a hundred," Pant told The Week.
But to Pant's credit, in the very next Test, he led India to a historic Test and series win at the Gabba with an unbeaten 89* again batting on the final day but this time successfully. He spilled the beans as to what was going on between him and Washington Sundar in the middle. They forged a crucial stand in fag end of the game with Sundar taking the aggressors role.
"When I am batting, I am very proactive and I keep talking to [my partner]. I like to appreciate the cricket—if someone is leaving the ball, I say well left or good defence. All these things keep me motivated and involved, too. So, when Washy came, he was pumped up and said, ‘Macha, what should we do? I have to hit, etc.’ I told him to take a chill pill, one of us has to stay till the end. I told him to decide what to do, because both of us wanted to go for the win. Either you go for the runs or I have to go. He responded, ‘I will go for the runs, you anchor the innings.’ That is how it started."
The feeling of leading India to a remarkable series win is still sinking in for the left-hander.
"Yeah, it is just sinking in. Spending time with my family has helped. [But] I do not want to keep thinking about it because there is a new series coming up. So yes, I am feeling happy after a long time!," he admitted.
Earlier, he had lost his place in the white-ball squads but the youngster only stayed focused on what he had under his control.
"I lost my place in the ODI and T20 squads, so I had to tell myself to focus on the [things I can control]. I had to focus on playing all four Tests. I was spending good time in the gym, training hard. I was practising well, so my whole focus was on how I could do better there and improve every day."
Now, India will take on England in the four-match Test series starting from February 5 in Chennai.