India willing to be patient with Pant after Sydney heroics

Pant smashed a blistering 97 to turn the contest on its head and his 148-run stand with Pujara (77) laid the foundation for a memorable draw.

Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant plays a shot en route to his 97 against Australia during the final day of the third Test on Monday.   -  Getty Images

Rishabh Pant may not be the finished article as a wicketkeeper but India is ready to be patient with the exciting talent whose spectacular counter-attacking knock helped Ajinkya Rahane's men pull off a great escape in the third test against Australia.

Chasing an improbable 407-run victory target, India was effectively 102-4 early on the final day with Ravindra Jadeja nursing a dislocated thumb which has ended the all-rounder's Australia tour.

Promoted to number five, Pant smashed a blistering 97 to turn the contest on its head and his 148-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara (77) laid the foundation for a memorable draw.

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Pant's keeping was criticised after he dropped Australia opener Will Pucovski twice on the opening day but his batting heroics underlined why India keep playing him ahead of the technically superior Wriddhiman Saha.

"Anyone can drop catches but as long as you are learning, as a wicketkeeper or as a cricketer, that's very important," India captain Rahane said after Monday's draw.

"We know he can actually win games for us from any situation, we have that belief in him. I think he's improving day by day and it's a very good sign," he added.

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Pant had suffered an elbow injury on Saturday and had to be substituted by Saha behind the stumps during Australia's second innings.

India has a top-four comprising only right-handed batsmen and having an attacking southpaw like Pant forces opposition bowlers to keep changing their line.

"We know that he is a positive player and the left-right combination was very crucial for us," Rahane said.

"We promoted him at number five and the way he played a counter-attacking knock was really good."

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Days after being trolled on social media for his slip-up behind the stumps, Pant received support from former players.

"Pant showed why he needs to b(e) treated differently," tweeted former India opener Virender Sehwag.

The series is tied at 1-1 and the final test will be held at the Gabba from January 15-19, after which India returns home for a four-test series against England that begins on February 5.

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