After the first Test in Galle, where Hardik Pandya had scored a quickfire half-century to silence his critics, India skipper Virat Kohli had said the Baroda all-rounder can be India’s Ben Stokes.
“At home, it has been different but when you play away from home, one guy gives you a lot of balance and I think Hardik can be that guy going ahead, especially playing so much cricket away from home. If he grows in confidence – you see someone like Ben Stokes, what he does for England. Brings in great balance as an allrounder. I see no reason why Hardik Pandya can’t become that for India,” Kohli had said.
Well, going by the early signs, one can safely assume that the Pandya can end India’s long search for a world-class all-rounder. The right-handed batsman, who had scored 76 off 43 balls in Champions Trophy books, entered the record books by scoring a staggering 26 runs off one over in the second Test of the ongoing third Test against Sri Lanka at Pallekele. Pandya’s assault came against spinner Malinda Pushpakumara. The allrounder hit the first two balls for fours before hitting three consecutive boundaries to collect 26 runs off the five balls. But with only 3 runs needed to break Brian Lara and George Bailey’s record of most runs in an over which is 28, Pandya failed to score off the last ball. His stunning assault, nevertheless, made him the Indian player with most runs in an over in the longest format of the game. Courtesy of the over, Pandya raced away to 83 off just 70 balls.
Here is how Twitter reacted to his knock: