Pant rises to world's best keeper-batsman

Young Indian star Rishabh Pant has gone from second-choice gloveman in his country to the world's best wicketkeeper-batsman in one career-defining series.

RISHABH PANT
RISHABH PANT Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

In one career-defining series, India's Rishabh Pant has gone from his country's second-choice gloveman to the best wicketkeeper-batsman in the world.

The dashing 23-year-old was left out of the first Test against Australia in Adelaide with veteran Wriddhiman Saha preferred behind the stumps.

But with Saha putting in an average display and Virat Kohli's men trounced by eight wickets after being bowled out for 36 in their second innings, the explosive Pant was summoned for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

He helped India level the series in an eight-wicket win before setting the SCG alight in the second innings of the third Test, where he counter punched with a swashbuckling 97 off 118 balls to help India earn a draw.

But the left-hander saved his best for last in the series-deciding Gabba Test when he cracked an unbeaten 89 to lead India in a successful 328 record-run chase and secure the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

His career-defining innings helped catapult him to No.13 in the latest ICC world batting rankings, making him the highest-placed wicketkeeper ahead of South African Quinton de Kock.

"It's been a dream series after not playing the first Test match," said Pant after the heroic Gabba knock.

"Management backs me that I'm a match-winner, that's the only thing I keep thinking, I want to win matches for India and I'm happy for that today."

Marnus Labuschagne's first innings century at the Gabba took the Queenslander past Kohli in the batting ranks to No.3 - his best-ever position - behind only New Zealand's Kane Williamson and compatriot Steve Smith.

Josh Hazlewood, who grabbed six weeks in the Test including 5-57 in the first innings, leapfrogged Kiwi Tim Southee into fourth.

Australia vice-captain Pat Cummins remains the best bowler in the world, his 21 wickets also earning him man-of-the-series honours.