India wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant is once again in the line of fire for his ordinary keeping skills on day 1 of the third Test between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Picked over the likes of more experienced Wriddhiman Saha, Pant is a part of the Indian team’s playing XI for his explosive batting skills. However, the same cannot be said about his wicketkeeping which has been below average so far in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar trophy. On Thursday, Pant was guilty of dropping two regulation catches of Australian debutant Will Pucovski inside three overs. Ravichandran Ashwin and Mohammed Siraj were the unlucky bowlers.Also Read - Here is How BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly Convinced Rahul Dravid For Team India Role
Introduced into the attack after 13 overs as India’s first bowling change, senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin tempted Pucovski into a drive and the batsman only managed an edge after losing his balance, but Pant failed to hang on to the offering despite getting his gloves to it in the 22nd over. The 23-year-old old keeper spilled one more chance and on that occasion, the unlucky bowler was Siraj, whose fast and short delivery touched the Pucovski’s gloves on his way to the keeper, who could not complete the task. Pant managed to take it on the second attempt, but the ball had hit the ground by then. Also Read - IND vs NZ: Ravichandran Ashwin Scalps 50 Wickets in Calendar Year in Tests; Only Indian Bowler to Achieve it on Most Number of Occasions
Here’s how the Twitterverse reacted to Pant’s below-par wicketkeeping in Sydney: Also Read - IND vs NZ | 2nd Test, Day 3: India Need 5-Wickets to Clinch Series, Ajaz Patel Scalps 14
Meanwhile, Pucovski rode his luck to score a half-century on debut and guide Australia to 93 for one at tea on a rain-marred opening day of the third in Sydney. Pucovski was unbeaten on 54 and Marnus Labuschagne on 34 at the tea break after four hours of play was lost due to rain.
In between three reprieves, Pucovski played some impressive shots and also looked solid in defence after Mohammed Siraj sent back the returning David Warner early. Earlier, play resumed as the sun shone brightly after a four-hour rain interruption.
Groundsmen at the Sydney Cricket Ground worked relentlessly, including using a blower to go with the super-sopper, to get the surface ready for resumption at 3pm local time. More than 30 overs had been lost a total of 57 overs are to be bowled in the day. Scheduled close of play has been extended to 6.30pm with extra 30 minutes permitted to ensure minimum overs.
This was after young pacer Siraj dismissed Warner to leave Australia at 21 for one before the inclement weather stopped play barely seven overs into the first day’s action. Siraj sent back Warner – 5 – when he had the seasoned opener caught behind by Cheteshwar Pujara at first slip in the fourth over, giving India their first breakthrough before the heavens opened up.
The players ran off the field as a shower arrived from nowhere, forcing the groundsmen to cover the pitch as well as the square.
Rohit Sharma returned to the Indian playing XI in place of Mayank Agarwal, while Saini was handed a Test debut, replacing an injured Umesh Yadav.
Pucovski made his debut at the expense of an out of form Travis Head. The four-match Test series is tied at 1-1.