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Australia v India

Two drops in quick succession reignite Pant-Saha debate

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Rishabh Pant shelled two chances in quick succession in the ongoing third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground to reignite the debate over who of him or Wriddhiman Saha should take the gloves for India in Tests.

Debutant Will Pucovski was the beneficiary on both occasions. Having weathered the new-ball attack, he was on 18 off 54, when he misjudged the line and turn of a good-length Ravichandran Ashwin delivery to get a faint outside edge. Pant got his gloves to the ball but failed hang on, much to the disappointment of the bowler and captain.

Within 15 minutes, Mohammed Siraj hurried Pucovski with a sharp bouncer. The right-hander went through with the pull and the ball lobbed off the gloves over the keeper’s head. Pant leapt backwards but spilled the chance on the first attempt, before giving it another go. While he didn’t celebrate overly, his teammates congratulated him for his recovery.

The decision was sent upstairs with the soft signal being out but Bruce Oxenford, the third umpire, had it reversed, concluding that the ball hit the ground before Pant could regather.

Pucovski carried on, extending a crucial partnership with Marnus Labuschagne while getting to a maiden Test fifty.

The potentially crucial drops have sparked another Pant v Saha debate on social media. While Pant’s game-changing abilities with the bat warrant him a spot in the XI for some, and allow India to field a more balanced side with an all-rounder at No.7, others are more in favour of a player with superior keeping skills. Saha is rated as one of the world’s best pure glovemen, though a couple of chances did escape him in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval.


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