Rishabh Pant decided to rise in the west after his woes in the sub-continent, batting in his signature attacking manner to hog the limelight on the second day of the warm-up match between India and Leicestershire.
One among four India players to turn out for the English county side in the practice match meant to help the visitors acclimatise with the conditions, Pant knocked his way to an entertaining 76 off 87 balls at Grace Road.
During his 154-minute stay in the middle, Pant entertained the crowd with 14 boundaries and a six.
Responding to India’s 246 for eight declared after a day of multiple rain interruptions, Leicestershire was primed to take a sizable lead over the tourist when Pant was in his element.
But the possibility died down with the swashbuckling wicketkeeper-batter’s dismissal, thanks to a good catch by Shreyas Iyer off the bowling of left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja.
This was after they were reeling at 138 for six at one stage of the innings.
Leicestershire’s first innings ended at 244, two less than India’s total.
Meanwhile, seamer Mohammad Shami was seen jumping on Cheteshwar Pujara’s back to celebrate his wicket, even as the batter walked back to the dressing room smiling. Pujara, who was out for a duck, is part of the Leicestershire XI in the match.
The 24-year-old Pant, who oversaw the Indian team’s excellent comeback in the T20I series against South Africa at home but struggled to score runs and got out in identical fashion, played some fine shots on Friday.
There was a lovely cover drive against Mohammed Shami while he was engaged in some sort of a battle with the world-class India seamer. Then, Pant used the pace of Umesh Yadav and played a scoop for a six to bring up his half-century.
Besides Pant, Rishi Patel and Roman Walker contributed 34 each for the hosts.
Among the Indian bowlers, Shami and Jadeja were the most successful with figures of 3/42 and 3/28 respectively.
There were two wickets apiece for Shardul Thakur, who was taken to the task by Pant and Co, and Mohammed Siraj.
Thakur’s lack of pace helped the batters play him without any difficulty.
Opening the batting a day after his unbeaten 70 in the first essay, Srikar Bharat (31 not out) and Shubman Gill (38) added 62 runs for the first wicket when India batted the second time in the four-day match.
Gill was bowled by Will Davis after his 34-ball knock, during which he hit eight fours.
Hanuma Vihari (9) was giving Bharat company when the stumps were drawn with India ahead by 82 runs.
India was 84 for one at the close of play.