'Smothered' catch, bad day for Pant at SCG

Rob Forsaith
·2-min read

Fumbling wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant has tested the faith of both sides at the SCG, where he claimed a catch that the third umpire judged to be clearly not out.

Pant dropped a regulation edge offered by Will Pucovski on 26, when the young gun misread a delivery from offspinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

India's gloveman seemingly made amends three overs later.

Pucovski was on 32 and gloved Mohammed Siraj's bouncer, with the tourists celebrating after a diving Pant tried to reel in a juggled catch.

The umpires' soft signal was out.

India celebrated again upon watching replays on the big screen but third umpire Bruce Oxenford ruled the "ball is definitely on ground", so Pucovski remained at the crease.

Every element of Test cricket is supposed to be harder than first-class games but in this case, Pucovski was understandably thrilled that on-field officials had the capacity to ask for catches to be scrutinised.

"It was an interesting one," the 22-year-old said.

"I sort of thought he'd claimed it, so I just assumed he must have caught it. Maybe I've got too much faith in people.

"But I looked at it on the big screen and I was talking to Marnus (Labuschagne) about it, I was like 'I don't think that's out'. It sort of looked like he'd smothered it into the ground.

"It was a pretty cool thing to get called back. You go from complete disappointment of being out to the great thing of having another chance; another thing that doesn't really happen in Shield cricket."

Ricky Ponting, who captained a side that encountered plenty of controversy over claimed catches during a handful of heated Tests against India, queried whether Oxenford made the right call after poring over footage.

"I'm not sure how you can say that's definitely hit the ground," Ponting said during commentary on the Seven Network.

"We can't actually see the bottom of his right glove."

The on-field verdict meant that Oxenford needed to find conclusive evidence to deem it not out.

Pant will be keen to deliver a big score after his errors allowed Pucovski and Labuschagne to seize momentum.

India picked Wriddhiman Saha, dubbed the "best gloveman in the world" by coach Ravi Shastri, ahead of Pant for the series opener at Adelaide Oval.

The visitors opted to recall Pant for the Boxing Day Test, strengthening their batting order at the cost of the quality of their keeper.