Pant produced a phenomenal innings of 146 runs off just 111 balls, rescuing India from a very difficult 98/5 after being sent in to bat by England skipper Ben Stokes. Pant’s record 222-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja (83 not out) eventually helped the team go past the 300-run mark and reach 338/7 at stumps.
“I take my hat off to the way Pant played. When you play against world class players, they can do world class things. And today he had his day,” said Collingwood after the opening day’s play.
Collingwood added that while Pant and Jadeja’s partnership might have frustrated the home team bowlers on the opening day, it didn’t mean that England were at a disadvantage now.
“Today was a great day,” Collingwood said. “I don’t feel as if our backs were against the wall for too long. I think the batsmen should be excited about batting on that wicket. It will be a great result if we keep them down to 360, 370,” Collingwood was quoted as saying by theguardian.com.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say anything went wrong. What we’ve found in the three games against New Zealand is that once the ball goes quite soft after 30 or 40 overs, it can be very difficult to take wickets…We were unable to get the ball to do anything off the straight, and there was some amazing strokeplay,” opined Collingwood, who had played the role of interim head coach when England had toured the West Indies recently, before Brendon McCullum took over the job.
Collingwood also said that Pant’s fifth Test ton was an indication that Test cricket is changing fast.
“Pant came out to play a bit of Bazball (comparison with Brendon McCullum, the England Test head coach) as everyone keeps calling it. When you have a bit of moisture in the pitch early on, you have a chance to take early wickets, which is what we did. We’re going against the grain of much of the cricket that’s been played over the last 100 years…We are trying to play as positive as possible, and play entertaining cricket. Ben (Stokes) is not going to take a backward step.
“(McCullum) said right from the start about the bigger picture of Test cricket and that for it to survive, we’ve got to make it much more entertaining, and today’s cricket was entertaining. There were wickets, there were runs, there were great catches. When you’re watching someone as entertaining as Pant, you’ve got to applaud an innings like that,” added Collingwood.