England assistant coach Paul Collingwood lavished praise on Rishabh Pant‘s breathtaking knock on Day 1 of the ongoing rescheduled fifth Test between England and India at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

Pant led India’s fightback with a brilliant century after the tourists were reduced to 98/5 inside 28 overs. The wicketkeeper-batter took English bowlers to the cleaners, reaching his fifth triple-figure score in the longest format from just 89 deliveries. Pant smashed his way to 146 off 111 balls as India raced along to 338/7 at stumps with Ravindra Jadeja (83 no) unbeaten at the other end.

After the end of the day’s play, Collingwood called upon Test coach Brendon McCullum‘s words that Pant’s spectacular batting exhibition is crucial for Test cricket to survive. Collingwood even compared Pant’s approach to England’s ‘Bazball’ – a term given for McCullum’s style of aggressive cricket – something that the hosts have adapted in the summer.

“Today was a great day. 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,” said Collingwood, as quoted by the Guardian.

“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. I take my hat off to the way that Pant played. When you play against world-class players, they can do world-class things. And today, he had his day,” he added.

“Pant came out to play a bit of Bazball, 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. There were wickets, there were runs, and there were great catches. When you’re watching someone as entertaining as Pant, you’ve got to applaud an innings like that,” Collingwood added further.

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