The superb batting display by the No. 7 and No. 8 was applauded by cricketers all around the world.
Former India cricketer Dodda Ganesh feels Indian tailenders are no more underdogs who can be sent back to the pavilion cheaply by any bowling attack in the world.
“It is a good sign for Indian cricket. Both newcomers Thakur and Sundar batted when India needed a big partnership. They were the crisis men for the Indian team in Brisbane,” Ganesh told Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview.
Both Sundar and Shardul were tested by short balls, bouncers, and swinging deliveries by the Aussie quicks, but the duo, with their stubborn stay, dented Australia’s plans with their valiant efforts. Shardul scored a brilliant 67 off 115 balls and stitched a solid 123-run stand with Sundar before being bowled by Pat Cummins. His innings was studded with 9 boundaries and 2 sixes.
Sundar (62 runs off 144 balls) became the second Indian cricketer meanwhile to notch up a 50 plus score in a debut batting innings and take three or more wickets in a debut bowling innings. Dattu Phadkar was the first Indian cricketer to achieve the feat. He scored 51 runs and bagged 3/14 against Australia at the SCG way back in 1947/48.
Both the batsmen tore apart the Aussie attack with ease, notching up their career best Test scores.
In Pics: Washington Sundar, Shardul Thakur drag India back into Brisbane Test
Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur gave India a fighting chance of securing the draw they need in the fourth Test against Australia to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. (BCCI Photo)
“This is not an overnight miracle. This is 365-day hard work and dedication. Indian tailenders are no more tailenders who will be blown away in a couple of overs. Shardul and Sundar have proved this. They can bowl and take wickets. They can score runs with the bat too,” Ganesh, who played 4 Tests and 1 ODI for India between 1997 and 2005, further said.
“In our playing days, the bowlers hardly focussed on batting. Nowadays, you have sidearmers, a bowling machine, and support staff. We need to thank BCCI, state cricket associations, and NCA for their vision. They are bringing new things and technologies into Indian cricket. They all should be credited for the success,” he said.
Shardul Thakur (PTI Photo)
This was also the fourth instance of India forming a 100 plus partnership stand on Australian soil for the seventh wicket.
Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja (204 runs in Sydney, 2018/19), Vijay Hazare and Hemu Adhikari (132 runs in Adelaide, 1947/48), and Mohd Azharuddin and Manoj Prabhakar (101 runs in Adelaide 1991/92) are the other pairs who formed 100 plus stands for the seventh wicket in Australia for India earlier.
The partnership between Shardul and Sundar is also the highest for the seventh wicket for India at this venue. The duo broke the record of Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar. Dev and Prabhakar had formed a partnership of 58 runs in 1991.
Washington Sundar (AFP Photo)
“Sundar is a perfect all-rounder. I have seen his performance in the TNPL and domestic circuit. Shardul is a committed cricketer. While playing for Mumbai, he has given many match-winning performances. This is a very big and positive sign for Indian cricket. We do not have Ishant Sharma, Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Bumrah and now these youngsters have done so well. They are basically bowlers but the way they batted, it was outstanding. They got the opportunity and grabbed it confidently and then delivered too. Both Sundar and Shardul showed commitment,” Ganesh further told TimesofIndia.com.
“These players should be applauded for their performances. Due to COVID, they hardly got the chance to practice. After that, it was IPL and then the Australia series. A cricketer needs a playground for practice and training. When you will play a competitive game after a long period and that too without much training, you will suffer some injuries. But the way the Indian team has played, is outstanding. I am totally impressed with it. It is unbelievable,” the 47-year-old cricketer said.