India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant said the team will stand by its decision to bat first after being bundled for a paltry first innings total against England in third Test at Headingley.
Moving into the Test with an unchanged bowling attack with four seam options, skipper Virat Kohli decided to bat first on Day One after winning the Toss on a wicket that was suggested to be “tacky” by his counterpart, Joe Root.
James Anderson’s vicious opening spell cast the downfall of India’s top-order. KL Rahul (0), Cheteshwar Pujara (1) and Virat Kohli (7) fell to the veteran seamer who completed a superb spell with figures: 8-5-6-3. Opener Rohit Sharma delayed England’s procession before he holed out after a fighting knock of 19 from 105 deliveries.
England then bundled the visitor for 78 before racing to a 42-run lead, courtesy of a 120-run opening stand between Rory Burns (52*, 125b, 5*4, 1*6) and Haseeb Hameed (60*, 130b, 11*4).
Post the day’s play, Pant defended Kohli’s decision and said: “In the morning, the wicket was slightly on the softer side, and they bowled in good areas. We could have applied ourselves better. We can learn from it and only move on. The batting unit is giving hundred per cent, but sometimes it doesn’t go well.”
‘Comfortable batting at 6’
Pant’s approach came under the scanner once again after failing to provide able support down the order. The 23-year-old has scored 131 runs in six innings in the current tour, including the World Test Championship final.
Pant dismissed concerns over lack of form with the bat and said he prefers to look at the situation from the team’s perspective. “I’m fine batting at 6. There are two options in front of you as a cricketer, you can think of the team or your performance. The culture we have created here is to think about the team. Yes, individual performances matter, but we don’t want to focus on it as an Indian cricket team,” said Pant.
Siraj – Headingley crowd incident
The English crowd was once again in the spotlight after it distracted India seamer Mohammed Siraj while fielding during England’s first innings. Speaking about the Pant said, “I think, somebody (from the crowd) threw a ball at Siraj, so he (Kohli) was upset. You can say whatever you want, chant, but don’t throw things at fielders. It is not good for cricket.”
This is the second instance of the crowd meddling with the Indian team in the series. During the second Test at Lord’s, English spectators had thrown bottle corks at KL Rahul, leaving skipper Virat Kohli fuming.