Pallekele: Indian all-arounder Hardik Pandya played one of the most memorable Test innings in recent times, notching up a brilliant maiden test hundred in the third test match of the series against Sri Lanka.
Coming in to bat at number eight when India were in a spot of bother with the early dismissal of Wriddhiman Saha, Pandya steadied the ship putting up a 62- run partnership with Kuldeep Yadav.
He reached his half-century in 61 balls, but went beserk after that, bringing up his next 50 in just 25 balls, to register an 86-ball ton that included eight fours and seven sixes.
Playing only his third test match, Hardik showed why he is suited for Test as he rescued India from 339/7 to take them tk 487 before being dismissed for a well made 108 in 96 balls, with a strike rate of 112.5.
He was well assisted at the crease by Kuldeep Yadav (26 of 73 balls) and Umesh Yadav (3 of 14 balls), who ably assisted Pandya and allowed him to free his arms and go for the big ones.
En route to his maiden ton, Hardik also became the fastest Indian to make a century batting at number 8 or a lower position. His century is also fourth fastest century by an Indian in test cricket, equalling the legendary Kapil Dev’s record.
Pandya also set a new record, when he hit Sri Lankan spinner Malinda Pushpakumara for 26 runs in a single over. Brian Lara (against South Africa) and George Bailey (against England) top the list, both having hit 28 runs in a single over.
The Baroda lad, on the way to bring up his first test hundred for India also became the first Indian to get to a ton before the lunch session of any day in a test match. His 107 runs overtook Virender Sehwag’s 99 runs against the West Indies in the year 2006.
As is the trend these days, social media site Twitter was quick to react to Pandya’s brilliant century.
Former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif wrote in his twitter handle, “What an unbelievable innings by Hardik Pandya. Counter attack at it’s best. Scored his first 50 in 61 balls, the scond of 25. Brilliant#INDvSL.”
Legendary Indian batsman and commentator Virender Sehwag wrote, “Wow ! What an incredible century by @hardikpandya7. Well done mere KungFu Pandya. Mazaa aa gaya.#INDvSL.”
Famous Indian cricket commentator, Harsha Bhogle wrote in a series of tweets, “100 in a session too for @hardikpandya7. Extraordinary ability to move up a gear but it was the first 50 that interested me more.” He followed it up with another tweet, “Pandya is ready to move up the order.”
Another twitter user awed by the six hitting ability of Pandya wrote, “This is the 3rd time in last 3 months Hardik Pandya has hit 3 sixes of 3 consecutive balls in international cricket; twice vs Pak in CT.”
Mohandas Menon, who is always correct with his facts, wrote, “Hardik Pandya now 81st batsman to make 483rd Test Century for India.”
While some other twitter users took to this as an opportunity to take a dig at Ravindra Jadeja, for the latter’s run-out of Pandya in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan. “Dream test for Hardik Pandya. A ton and Jadeja’s suspension,” wrote a twitter user.
Another twitter user shockingly went to the extent of comparing the Baroda all-rounder to the legendary crickter Don Bradman. He wrote, “Hardik Pandya almost better than Bradman.”
(Edited by Souryaprokas Bhaduri)