One of the key highlights of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has been the grit and resilience displayed by the Indian cricket team, especially the tailenders, in the face of adversity. With the quick dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Ajinkiya Rahane in the morning session of India’s first innings on Day 3 of the Brisbane Test, India had a mammoth task at hand.
Although Mayank Agarwal played some exquisite shots and Rishabh Pant looked promising, the duo failed to hold on to the crease for a long time. India were 6 wickets down in the 66th over at just the halfway mark. The Indian fans conceded a defeat, without realising what tailenders Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar had in store. In an extraordinary display of determination, they went on to put a partnership of 121 runs for the 7th wicket.
Shardul Thakur displays his batting prowess
The said partnership between the two became India’s highest partnership for the 7th wicket at the Gabba cricket stadium, surpassing the earlier record held by Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar in 1991. The duo beautifully paced their innings and showed the right intent from the very onset.
Shardul Thakur took his Australian counterpart, Patt Cummins head-on with a pull shot for a boundary off a short-pitched ball. Similarly, he played an astounding cover drive off Mitchelle Starc, that reminded Mike Hussey of the legendary Australian skipper Steve Waugh. He went on to face 115 balls and put up an individual score of 62 runs.
Washington Sundar delivers a batting masterclass
Shardul Thakur was adequately supported by Washington Sundar on the other end. Facing 144 balls, he recorded his personal best performance of 62 runs. As per statistics, his score happens to be the highest score made by a visiting number 7 debutant in Tests in Australia.
Although Washington Sundar hit 7 boundaries, the key highlight of his batting was a spectacular six that he hit off Nathan Lyon’s ball, despite taking the eyes of the ball. Sundar, who began his career in the U-19, as a batsman went on to show that the batsman in him still lives on, despite his full-fledged transformation into an ace spin bowler.
Experts hail the duo for their exemplary performance
Hailing the grit and determination shown by the Indian cricket team during their Tour of Australia, former England skipper Michael Vaughan tweeted, “Full credit to India … The character they have had to show on this tour has been remarkable … also the resilience with so many injuries … a team is only as good as its bench many say … Well, India have a very strong bench of players now.”
Full credit to India … The character they have had to show on this tour has been remarkable … also the resilience with so many injuries … a team is only as good as its bench many say … Well India have a very strong bench of players now … #AUSvIND— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 17, 2021
Indian captain Virat Kohli, who is on paternity leave, applauded the outstanding performance and composure of Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar. “Outstanding application and belief by @Sundarwashi5 and @imShard. This is what test cricket is all about. Washy top composure on debut and tula parat maanla re Thakur,” he wrote.
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle also seemed to be in awe of their performance at the Gabba cricket stadium. He tweeted, “Extremely impressed with the fighting attitude shown by Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur. They have symbolised what India has been in this series, consistently punching above their weight. It is so satisfying to see.”
Extremely impressed with the fighting attitude shown by @Sundarwashi5 and @imShard. They have symbolised what India has been in this series, consistently punching above their weight. It is so satisfying to see.— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 17, 2021
India has dismissed for a total of 336 runs in the 1st innings. With a lead of 54 runs, it will be interesting to see how the match pans out tomorrow with the Australian opening batsmen Marcus Harris and David Warner facing the Indian pace attack in the morning session of Day 4. But, the clear winner on Day 3 has been the spectacular performance of Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar, who saved the match for India.