Rishabh Pant labelled his series-winning innings “one of the biggest moments” of his life after India inflicted a first defeat on Australia at the Gabba since 1988.
The 23-year-old hit an unbeaten 89 on day five to complete a remarkable recovery which saw the tourists win the four-match Test series 2-1 despite losing the opener after being dismissed for 36 in Adelaide.
Set a record victory target of 328 to win in Brisbane, India reached it with three wickets in hand and only 18 balls left to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in a dramatic finale to a pulsating series.
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“This is one of the biggest moments of my life now,” Pant said.
“It’s been a dream series. The team management always back me and tells me ‘you are a match-winner’ and I keep thinking every day that I want to win matches for India and I did it today.”
Ajinkya Rahane captained the side – after Virat Kohli returned home following the first Test to be at the birth of his child – and praised the squad.
He added: “It really means a lot to us. I don’t know how to describe this victory. I’m just proud of all the boys, each and every individual.
“We just wanted to give our best, not to think about the result. When I went in the conversation between me and Pujara was Puji to bat normal and me to go for my shots, because we knew Rishabh and Mayank (Agarwal) were there.
“Credit to Pujara, the way he handled the pressure was magnificent, and Rishabh was brilliant in the end.”
Kohli took to Twitter to hail his team-mates, posting: “WHAT A WIN!!! Yessssss. To everyone who doubted us after Adelaide, stand up and take notice. Exemplary performance but the grit and determination was the standout for us the whole way. Well done to all the boys and the management. Enjoy this historic feat lads. Cheers.”
WHAT A WIN!!! Yessssss. To everyone who doubted us after Adelaide, stand up and take notice. Exemplary performance but the grit and determination was the standout for us the whole way. Well done to all the boys and the management. Enjoy this historic feat lads. Cheers ???? @BCCI pic.twitter.com/CgWElgOOO1
Defeat for Australia and Paine added to the disappointment of the third Test, where they failed to bowl out India for victory on day five.
After another final day to forget, the wicketkeeper conceded they need to review how they handle the pressure.
Good evening from Gabba!! I am sorry I couldn’t play here but thanks for hosting us and playing some hard cricket during these tough times. We will remember this series forever! @tdpaine36 @CricketAus
Paine said: “Absolutely disappointed. We came here to win the Test and win the series. It’s been a bit of a trend that we were found wanting in the key moments and completely outplayed by a tough Indian side that fully deserves the win.
“I think there’s lots of things we’ll look back at, but what’s done is done. We need to look forward now. There’s a big series in South Africa coming up. We’ve been outplayed by the better side in this series.”
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