Watch – Mehidy to Pant: The moment that broke Indian fans’ hearts, left ex-Australia star disheartened

A boundary here, a big six there, lots of aggression, some quick yet sure movement on the crease – Rishabh Pant was all over the Bangladesh spinners and this after Taijul Islam had got India on its haunches by reducing them to 48 for 3 on Day 1 of the first Test match at Chattogram. Pant, as he has done so often in the past couple of years, started to change momentum back towards India after walking in to bat at No.5 at the fall of Virat Kohli’s wicket.

Pant’s first three boundaries were against Taijul – the man who had taken the wickets of Shubman Gill and Virat Kohli. One would have to say, it was for this reason that Pant was sent ahead of Shreyas Iyer. The India wicketkeeper-batter had a clear plan of unsettling the left-arm spinner. After what he had done to England’s Jack Leach a year ago, one really shouldn’t have any doubts about that.

Rishabh Pant facing Mehidy Hasan Miraz

Pant’s big shot came in his 16th ball when he charged down the track and smoked it over long-on for a maximum. He continued to attack, this time hitting off-spinner Mehidy Hasan Miraz for a couple of fours. It was his positive approach that helped India breathe easy. They went to Lunch on Day 1 at 85 for three.

The left-hander started the post-lunch session in pretty much the same fashion. But the important thing was that Taijul was hit out of the attack. Bangladesh started with the pace of Ebadot Hosain and the off-spin of Miraz. After hitting both of them for a boundary each, Pant swept Miraz for a slog sweep to collect his second six of the innings. It was also a landmark moment for him as he became the fastest Indian to reach 50 sixes in Test cricket. The signs were ominous for Bangladesh. Pant was nearing his fifty and threatening to take the game away from them. Things, however, changed completely in the next ball.

Premeditating a flatter delivery from Miraz, Pant pushed back, exposing his stumps. The left-hander perhaps wanted to use the pace of the delivery and guide it past the short third but Miraz hit the good length. It was too close to playing towards the off-side. All Pant managed to do was tickle it onto his stumps.

Pant was livid with himself, glanced upwards a few times and walked back for 46 off 45 balls. “He was the one taking the match forward,” said a disappointed Brad Hogg in the commentary.

The fans too expressed their displeasure on social media. They were expecting a big innings from Pant, who has been at his best in the longest format of the game.

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