India’s historic win at the Gabba is one for years to come. The injury-ridden tourists breached the Australian fortress, the first team to do so in 32 years. And it was the youngsters who rose to the occasion. From Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur’s century stand to Mohammed Siraj‘s maiden fifer. From Shubman Gill‘s 91 in the fourth innings to Rishabh Pant‘s unbeaten 89, it was a day India witnessed what the future generations hold.
One of the young heroes was Thakur who shone with both bat and ball on his second debut. The Mumbai pacer’s Test debut against West Indies lasted only 10 balls as he limped off with an injury. But he banished the ghosts of the forgetful debut to be reborn in the purest format of the game. Thakur shares that despite being ravaged by injuries, India was confident coming into the final Test. The Aussie bowlers were tired having bowled 100 plus overs for last three innings and the tourists capitalised on it.
“Our batting coach Vikram Rathour came and said play the ball as per merit, don’t play any silly shot. I told Sundar that let’s hang around because their bowlers were getting tired. Australia hadn’t given rest to any of their seamers in the entire Test series, it was the same bowling attack playing and we could sense that they were getting tired. The more they got tired the easier it would get. And it happened, their bowlers did get tired. We had to just apply our mind and back our instincts,” Thakur told The Indian Express.
I have all the shots to play
In the series decider, India were left reeling 186 for 6 when Thakur joined Washington in the middle. And they stitched a crucial century stand to steady the ship. Thakur scored his maiden Test fifty as the duo fended off the lethal attack of the hosts. Opening up on the memorable innings, Thakur shares that he was always confident of his batting. And his early days in Palghar, his village, and extensive batting in the nets made sure that he was up to the task with the bat.
“I told myself that if I can hang around for two hours, I have all the shots to play. I always enjoy playing fast bowlers, I have never been scared of speed. Am not scared to face even 145 kmph plus. Maybe it’s because of how my cricketing career started. We have a ground in my village where my first few years of cricket were played on matting wickets. The pitch in Palghar had uneven bounce, so handling bounce came naturally to me. At the same time I faced throwdown specialists regularly in the Indian team nets, so am used to playing pace,” he adds.
To top off a dream performance, Shardul picked four wickets in the second innings to finish the game with seven wickets. The Mumbai quick explains that he was nervy in the first innings. But once the wickets kept coming and he attained his rhythm, everything fell in place. Three wickets in the first innings served as the perfect stepping stone for him as he went on to scalp four more in the second innings.
“I was a bit nervous in the first innings because I was playing a Test match after a gap of two years. My first Test match lasted for ten balls, it was the second Test match but it was as good as the debut game. In the last three years, I haven’t played many first class games. I was more concerned about my rhythm but with wickets coming, I gained some confidence. In the second innings I said if I can get wickets in first, why not in second. I was high on confidence,” he signs off.