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India vs England, 5th Test, Day 5: Rishabh Pant scores maiden Test century

Rishabh Pant scored his maiden century in his third Test match by smashing a six of Adil Rashid's delivery. 

India vs England, 5th Test, Day 5: Rishabh Pant scores maiden Test century
Image Credit: Twitter/BCCI

LONDON: Delhi's 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant scored his maiden Test century on Tuesday as he and opener KL Rahul steered the Indian side after the loss of two quick wickets and kept alive India's hope of winning the fifth and final test match against England.

Rishabh Pant scored his maiden century in his third Test match by smashing a six of Adil Rashid's delivery.

The 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman took 117 balls to reach the milestone at The Oval.

It was possibly the best innings by an Indian wicketkeeper-batsman in England. In the process, Pant went past MS Dhoni, who held the record with 92 runs at the same ground in 2007.

Pant also surpassed Dhoni's 76 not out at Lord's in 2007 to register the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper in the fourth innings of a Test match.

The Delhi wicketkeeper had come to bat when India were struggling at 121 runs for the loss of five wickets.

At, 20 years and 342 days, Pant also becomes the youngest wicket-keeper to score a Test hundred in England.

Rishabh Pant made his Test debut at Trent Bridge making him the 291st Test player for India. 

After an impressive show at Indian Premier League (IPL), Pant was included in the Test squad against England.

He scored 684 runs in 14 matches for the Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, which included a century and eight fifties.

KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant's 177-run partnership brought the victory target below 200, giving India a slim chance of a win and a tantalising final twist in a compelling series.

India began the day on a precarious 58-3 chasing an improbable victory target of 464.

Rahul and Ajinkya Rahane survived an early four-over burst from James Anderson who was hunting the one wicket required to move ahead of Australian great Glenn McGrath as the leading paceman wicket-taker in test history. They were level on 563.

The 26-year-old Rahul brought up his first 50 of the series when he turned Anderson off his legs for a boundary in the first over of the day, and he grew in confidence from there on.

On a subdued and murky day after the excitement of England opener Alastair Cook`s farewell test century on Monday, Rahul looked in complete control, although Sam Curran did beat his outside edge on occasions before lunch.

His partnership with Rahane looked secure and was worth 118 when Moeen Ali made the breakthrough to have Rahane caught at mid-wicket for 37 after mistiming a sweep shot.

When Ben Stokes lured Hanuma Vihari into edging behind for a duck in the next over it looked bleak for India.

But Rahul went back on the attack to reach three figures with a flurry of boundaries off Stokes, accelerating from 78 to three figures in the space of nine balls, including a six thrashed over deep extra cover.

His fifth test century, taken off 118 deliveries, came up when he flat-batted a wide Stokes delivery for four -- drawing a warm reception from the sparse Oval crowd.

Pant outscored his partner in the afternoon with some audacious shots. He reached his maiden test half-century in 78 balls and later struck Stokes for three boundaries in an over as he sniffed a century.

With the pitch offering spin, England skipper Joe Root bowled himself as he sought a breakthrough in the afternoon but chances were few and far between.