India dangerman Rishabh Pant smashed a defiant hundred against England in the third ODI at Old Trafford in Manchester, leading the Rohit Sharma-led side to a 2-1 series triumph over the Three Lions on Sunday.

Rishabh Pant arrived at the crease with India in trouble at 21/2 after losing both their openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan inside the first five overs after Hardik Pandya (4/24) and Yuzvendra Chahal (3/60) helped the visitors bowl out England for 259 in 45.5 overs.

The Indians were then reduced to 72/4 with Virat Kohli perishing for 17 and Suryakumar Yadav departing for 16 by the time English bowlers delivered their 17 over.

Despite wickets falling around him, Rishabh Pant remained unperturbed and took a cautious approach at the start of the innings to get accustomed to the pace of the wicket. However, once he found his footing on the pitch, there was no looking back for Rishabh Pant.

The Uttarakhand-born dasher’s resurrection act came in tandem with Hardik Pandya who hit a scintillating 71 off 55 deliveries in a 133-run partnership which brought India back in the match.

After Hardik Pandya’s dismissal, Rishabh Pant upped the ante as he brought up his hundred off 106 balls, also his maiden one in the 50-over format in Manchester.

India eventually went on to achieve the target in 42.1 overs with Rishabh Pant remaining unbeaten on 125 off 113 balls, including 16 fours and two sixes.

Immediately after Rishabh Pant’s Old Trafford ton powered India to a series victory over Jos Buttler and company, former cricketers hailed his extraordinary effort on social media.

The legendary Virender Sehwag was among the first to heap rich praise on the 24-year-old southpaw.

“Last match of a series and Rishabh Pant playing brilliantly – this is a better love story than twilight. Incredible innings from an incredible player –  with great support from Hardik and Jadeja,” Virender Sehwag tweeted.

“This is one of the best ODI 100 under pressure on the English soil from an Indian batter, considering series was on the line,” former India fast bowler Irfan Pathan posted on Twitter.

“POCKET ROCKET! Rishabh Pant brings up his maiden ODI century. He came in and turned the tables on England with his aggressive batting as always! Is there anything this youngster can’t do?” The Bharat Army wrote on the micro-blogging platform.

“Combination of sound defence, sometimes audacious, sometimes normal attacking play controlled by a sharp and calm cricketing mind. Most importantly stays there till the end to win games for India. There is no one like Rishabh Pant!” ex-India batter Sanjay Manjrekar claimed on social media.

“Rishabh Pant has a knack of producing his best innings under pressure. What a time to bring up his first ODI hundred. The move to have him at No. 4 has started paying off,” former India opener Aakash Chopra opined.

What a cricketer Rishabh Pant is .. Incredibly entertaining but also very smart,” ex-England captain Michael Vaughan insisted.

What a time to get your maiden ODI hundred. Rishabh Pant controlled the chase in characteristic RP17 fashion, powering India to a memorable series-clinching victory,” the official Twitter handle of SonyLIV posted.

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An amazing innings full of maturity & great game awareness from Rishabh Pant. Still young in his international career but already played some all time great innings in the history of Indian cricket. A brilliant performance by Hardik Pandya too throughout the series,” former Indian bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad tweeted.

“Rishabh’s #HeoPanti takes India from deep crisis to important series win. Great tour he’s had, making a mark in all formats, surging in stature as a magnificent matchwinner,” noted cricket pundit Ayaz Memon said.

“Rishabh Pant may not have records to his name but after a long time there is someone who is becoming a reason to watch matches. Honestly speaking after Sachin, Sehwag & Lt Col Dhoni he is an attraction & a cause to switch the Tv channel to watch the Indian cricket. He wins hearts,” a fan declared.

“A ‘Pantastic’ Knock! Hardik Pandya was great too with his all-round display! The Rishabh Pant – Pandya partnership was so assuring. What a win for Team India after being in a tricky position while chasing!” another said.

“Rishabh Pant becomes the first Asian Wicketkeeper to score a century in both ODIs and Tests in England,” an Indian cricket team supporter revealed, referring to the left-hander’s latest feat in Manchester.

“It is not easy by any standards but Rishabh Pant has emerged as the modern day Dhoni. Or as a batsman possibly bigger -in test matches!!” asserted a Team India lover.

“Rishabh Pant and series deciders are a treat to watch. 89* at Gabba (2021), 125* at Manchester (Today),” an admirer of Indian cricket concluded.