Hardik Pandya played one of the best counter-attacking innings in recent times on Saturday when he slammed brilliant 93 of 95 balls against South Africa during the first Test in Cape Town. While the rest of the Indian batting order struggled against a fearsome South African pace attack, Pandya turned out to be the saviour with his knock of 93 which was laced with 14 fours and one huge six.
In the beginning of his innings, Pandya struggled as he was beaten time and again and peppered with short-pitched bowling. He was also hit on the body a couple of times and had a reprieve on 15 when Dean Elgar dropped a sitter. But making most of the chance, Pandya displayed an uncomplicated approach and took the Proteas bowlers to the sword. If not for his innings India would have been burdened with a lead of more than 150 but a crucial partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar saw the deficit get reduced to 77. Pandya’s knock drew widespread applause not only from his teammates in the dressing room but also on social media. Here are some of the best reaction from Twitter –
Intent makes such a big difference. So proud of Hardik for a really special counter-attacking innings.
Hope the bowlers do something special in the second innings.#SAvIND
Some 90s are more valuable than many 100s….Pandya’s innings of 93 was one of those. Well played. #SAvIND
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) 6 January 2018
Hardik Pandya didnt just attack. This was a sensible, cleverly played innings. Has risen many notches as a player.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) 6 January 2018
— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) 6 January 2018
Hardik Pandya’s stunning counter attack resurrects India from 92/7 to reach Tea on Day 2 185/7.
One’s stature as a player increases when one scores overseas and against an attack comprising Steyn, Rabada, Morkel & Philander when everyone else has struggled, Hardik Pandya shows how it is done. Privilege to watch that 93.
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) 6 January 2018
— ICC (@ICC) 6 January 2018
— BCCI (@BCCI) 6 January 2018
Admire performance from players when the team needs it the most.Hardik’s & Bhuvi’s were such performances today. Bowlers will need to be disciplined and patient tomorrow. #SAvsIND
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) 6 January 2018
Well done @hardikpandya7 great intent,approach,fighting spirit.. This inn will give you lots of confidence..Good to see you r chipping in with ball as well by taking those 2 wickets.. keep going..guys let’s do it tom @BCCI #INDvSA
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) 6 January 2018
Meanwhile, courtesy of Pandya’s fantastic innings India was able to crawl back into the game after being reduced to 92/7 at one point. The quartet of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada ran riot as the Indian top order struggled to acclimatise to the bouncy conditions on offer. India lost wickets at regular intervals as batsmen struggled to reach double digits. Philander and Rabada were the wreckers-in-chief as they picked up three wickets each. Morkel and Steyn complimented them equally by picking up a couple of wickets respectively.