Former England captain and current assistant coach Paul Collingwood was all praise for India’s Rishabh Pant who slammed his fifth Test century to first rescue India from precarious 98 for five and then took them to ascendancy on Day 1 of the fifth Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham. Pant reached his century – his third against England – off just 89 balls – the fastest by an Indian wicketkeeper-batter ever in Tests. Pant put up an unbelievable 222-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja (83*) when India were in all sort of troubles.
“Today was a great day, I don’t feel our backs were against the wall for too long, but hats off to the way Pant played. He is certainly entertaining, doesn’t take a backward step and he puts you under pressure.” Collingwood said in a press conference after close of play. India reached 338 for 7 and would be the happier side after England seamers led by the veteran seamers had made light work of India’s top-order before being hit by Pant. The left-hander scored 146 off 111 balls.
The former England captain termed Pant, who hit 19 fours, four sixes and scored at a strike rate of 136.36 a ‘world-class player. When you’re up against world-class players, they can do world-class things. It’s been another exciting day of Test cricket, we’ve had three exciting games against New Zealand and the first day here has been exactly the same. You do enjoy it when someone is playing out of their skin in an entertaining manner,” he added.
Collingwood, however, was not ready to accept that England were on the backfoot in this Test. “Brendon has said from the very start he’s looking at the bigger picture of Test cricket and for it to survive we’ve got to make it a lot more entertaining. Today was exactly that – there was wickets and runs, great catches and when you watch someone as exciting as Pant, you’ve got to applaud.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily say we went wrong today, but what we’ve found is once the ball goes soft after 30-40 overs it can be very difficult to take wickets if it’s not going off straight,” said Collingwood.