India vs Australia: The team has given me the freedom to express myself, says Pant

Rishabh Pant blasted a Test century in England last year and now he has done so in Australia. The lad from Delhi is growing in confidence in the ongoing India vs Australia Test series.

Rishabh Pant on way to his century in Sydney on Friday.   -  Reuters

Rishabh Pant blasted a Test century in England last year and now he has done so in Australia. The lad from Delhi is growing in confidence.

He said after his innings here on Friday, “Every hundred I score in international cricket is special for me because I have just started my career.  The team has given me the freedom to express myself.”

He said, “The team plan was to bat on for as long as possible. I played according to the team plan, and then the runs took care of themselves.”

READ: Pujara, Pant put India in command

Pant conceded he was a tad nervous getting into the 90s since he had, on two occasions, missed hundreds against the West Indies at home. “So, I was scared slightly but I got through that phase quickly.”

When he reached the three-figure mark, Pant celebrated with gusto. “I loved my celebration. I hadn’t thought that I would do something like that but whatever the expression came out of me, that’s it.”

Pant walked back to a standing ovation after India declared its innings. “I will remember the innings. I was batting with batsmen this time rather than the tail. You could see the difference in my approach.”

Asked how he stayed positive while ‘keeping wickets, Pant said, “You have to be on the field till you get the opposition out, so you have to be positive because if the next chance comes and you don’t grab that, your morale will go down even more I guess. So you have to be positive all the time, I don’t mind talking and keeping the spirits up.”

Tim Paine at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.   -  Getty Images

 

Australian captain Tim Paine said,  “Pujara was again superb, wore us down. Did what he always seems to do. He was extremely disciplined. That set the scene for Pant to show his skill. They drove it into us pretty well.”

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Paine said, “If the ball does not move around, it is extremely hard to get Pujara out. In Perth, there was bounce and movement and we had him nicking. He has faced a million balls in the series.”

The Australian captain said, “When you don’t execute your plans, teams can get away from you. We would have like more pace and bounce. But both teams had similar conditions. We have been outplayed. This Indian batting line-up has made us bowl a lot of deliveries both in Melbourne and here and that takes its toll.”

On the bowling attack coming under criticism, Paine said, “When you're playing sport at the highest level and you don't perform as you should you're going to cop criticism. We all know that.”

About Mitchell Starc coming under fire, Paine said, “He's down in confidence a little bit and sometimes people forget he's just a bloke who's trying his best.”