While South Africa may have chased down 240 with just three wickets, many would have bet on India to win seeing the kind of pace battery India has. With the likes of Bumrah, Shami, Siraj, Thakur, and R. Ashwin, a target of 240 on a difficult wicket on Day 4 would have allowed India to defend. When Rahane and Pujara were cruising India on the third day morning, South African commentator Mike Haysman said during commentary that even 180 would be difficult for South Africa to chase. While 240 was considered a decent target, many believe India could have set a score near 300 runs if the likes of Rishabh Pant would have stayed longer at the crease.
Madan Lal, while talking on AajTak, said that Rishabh Pant needs to think about the way he bats in test cricket. And that if has any doubts about it, he should take a break.
Unlike other batsmen, Pant wasn’t bowled a jaffa, but was distracted by banter from Rassie van der Dussen at a silly point. On his third ball of the innings, the batsman charged down the track on the likes of Rabada’s bowling and opted for a pull shot. The ball edged the bat and went straight to the wicket-keeper. Pant might not have opted for that shot in the absence of the banter.
Considering the gravity of the situation when the match was evenly poised and Pant being the last recognized batter, fans were vocal on social media and the likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Madan Lal criticized the left-hander. Rishabh Pant has won matches for India with his incredible performances in Australia last year. He played magnificently in England too where India are leading the series by 2-1. Fans, therefore, expected Pant to show some restrain against quality fast bowling on a lively pitch.
Madan Lal said that had India would have set a target of 300 or more, the scenario would have been different, and that Indian bowlers would have felt more confident with that target to defend. Rahul Dravid in his post-match press conference stated that Pant would be discussed about his approach in test matches by the team management.