Hardik Pandya on Sunday afternoon tore into the Sri Lankan bowling attack, smashing as many as 26 runs off Malinda Pushpakumara, to create a record of most runs scored by an Indian in an over in Test cricket. He also brought up his maiden Test century, off a mere 86 balls with the help of seven sixes and six boundaries. (IND v SL LIVE UPDATES | SCORECARD)
Pandya, running out of partners in an extended first session on the second day of the ongoing third and final Test at Pallekele, fired on all cylinders as he bolstered India’s first innings with crucial late runs, which in all probability will hurt Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka had India on the mat when they snaffled a flurry of late wickets on the opening day after Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul put up a record 188-run opening stand.
The carnage at the Pallekele International Stadium on the second day of the Test saw Pandya registering the fastest century in Test cricket batting at No 8 for any Indian.
Wow ! What an incredible century by @hardikpandya7 . Well done mere KungFu Pandya. Mazaa aa gaya.#INDvSL
– Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 13, 2017
The right-handed batting all-rounder who made his Test debut in this series had already scored a fifty – in the first Test at Galle. On Sunday, Pandya once again displayed his ability to hit the ball with extreme power and finesse which left the Sri Lankans clueless on the field.
Pandya had no qualms in hitting big sixes when the ball was pitched in his area, and also picked up boundaries with a lot of ease in vacant areas despite Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal spreading out the field to control the damage.
It was in the 116th over of the innings when Pandya set the record of scoring most runs in an over by an Indian. The first ball from Pushpakumara was smacked through midwicket for a four, followed by another powerful hit past the spinner.
Pandya followed the two boundaries off the first two balls with three consecutive sixes, with the first one flying over the head of the long-off fielder. He danced down the wicket on the next ball to hit another six in the same area, and the penultimate ball of the over was hit for the third six of the over, over long-on.
If it was any consolation, Pushpakumara managed to keep the batsman quiet on the final ball of the over with a dot. But the damage was already done, as he became the bowler off whom an Indian has collected most runs in a Test match.
Pandya also joined the likes of Kapil Dev and MS Dhoni to have smashed most consecutive sixes in Test cricket.
Most sixes off consecutive balls by Indians in Tests:
4 Kapil off Hemmings
3 MSD off Dave Mohammad
3 PANDYA off Pushpakumara #SLvIND
– Bharath Seervi (@SeerviBharath) August 13, 2017
Umesh Yadav did well to hang around in the middle to give Pandya the chance to have a crack at his maiden century, which he completed with a boundary off Lahiru Kumara.
Much to the amusement of the Indian camp, Pandya began his celebrations modestly and took out his helmet and gloves to celebrate the feat the way Shikhar Dhawan – who scored 116 on Day One – did.