Hardik Pandya is just three matches old in Test cricket but he already has a record to his name. In the third Test against Sri Lanka, Pandya came into bat at number eight and scored a 86-ball century for India.
He walked into the Test side and scored a fine fifty on debut. He was good on the field, and took some crucial wickets when called up. He completed his catches with minimum fuss. He hung out with some of the team’s biggest players, and even kick started a novel new celebration. In his third Test, with the team not in the most comfortable position, he showcased both sides of his game to score a stunning maiden century. Compared to his struggles to get to where he is now, Hardik Pandya must think Test cricket as the more overrated challenge.
Records broken by Hardik’s whirlwind innings and other key stats from India’s first innings in Pallekele:
26 runs by Hardik off the 116th over of the innings bowled by Malinda Pushpakumara is the most runs scored off a single over by an Indian batsman in Test cricket. He eclipsed 24 runs scored by Sandeep Patil off Bob Willis in Manchester in 1982, and by Kapil Dev off Eddie Hemmings at Lord’s in 1990.
24 The previous most runs scored off an over in a Test in Sri Lanka – by Sanath Jayasuriya off James Anderson in Kandy in 2007. 26 conceded by Pushpakumara is the joint-most by any Sri Lankan bowler in Tests alongside Suranga Lakmal who conceded 26 to Brendon McCullum in Christchurch in 2014.
5 Indian players who scored their maiden first-class hundred in a Test match – Vijay Manjrekar, Kapil Dev, Ajay Ratra, Harbhajan Singh and now Hardik. His previous highest score in first-class cricket was 90 for Baroda against Railways in Delhi in 2015 – it was just his third first-class match.
107 runs scored by Hardik is the most by an Indian batsman before Lunch on any day of a Test. The previous most was 99 runs by Virender Sehwag against West Indies in Gros Islet in 2006.
86 balls taken by Hardik to reach his hundred is the second fastest for an Indian player away from home, after the 78-ball hundred by Virender Sehwag against West Indies in Gros Islet in 2006. It is the joint-fastest hundred by a visiting player in Sri Lanka alongside Wasim Akram’s 86-ball effort against the hosts in 2000.
108 by Hardik is the third-highest by any player batting at number eight or below against Sri Lanka and the second-highest against them in Sri Lanka after Daniel Vettori’s 140 at the SSC in 2009.
7 Sixes hit by Hardik is the joint-second most in an innings for India. The record is held by Navjot Sidhu who hit eight against the same opposition in Lucknow in 1994. Sehwag also hit seven against Sri Lanka at Brabourne in 2009 as did Harbhajan Singh against New Zealand in Hyderabad in 2010.
His century came off only 86 balls which was also fastest by an Indian player coming in at number eight position.
Test cricket may seem easy right now , Hardik’s work and dedication to the cause have helped him make it that way. He may or may not turn out to be India’s new Kapil Dev, but India have potentially unearthed a match-changer they were desperate for in Pandya