India named one of the most inexperienced Test sides in recent memory for the fourth and final Test against Australia. They handed debuts to Washington Sundar and T Natarajan while also naming Shardul Thakur who had played just one Test beforehand. All of these were forced changes and while it looked like the inexperience would let the side down, it was the unpracticed trio that came good.
The three bowlers took three wickets apiece and in the Indian innings, Sundar and Thakur put on a 123-run stand and both scored half-centuries to deny Australia a huge first innings lead and potentially an easy win. T Natarajan who is known to have seldom practiced batting in his career, contributed a solitary run with the bat as well.
Ravichandran Ashwin turns anchor
In a video interview posted by the BCCI’s official Twitter handle, spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who isn’t a part of the playing XI for the fourth Test talked to Thakur, Sundar and Natarajan. He asked Thakur about his six to begin his innings and the pacer replied saying, “At that time, I did not look to hit six, it was more of a reaction. I saw the ball and played that shot instinctively and it came out well for me.”
Sundar was then asked about the shot and the offie said, “I knew it was coming, to be honest. He was trying for a six to Lyon for some time and I knew it was coming and he was very eager to get to his half-century.” Ashwin then asked Thakur about his shots that resembled the great Sir Vivian Richards to which he replied, “I have not really practiced those. It was one of those days where I was batting really well and did not want to miss any opportunity. Any loose ball and I just felt like putting it away.”
Ashwin then moved on to T Natarajan and asked him about his plans and how he unsettled the Aussie batting line-up. Natarajan then stated that he was spurred on by the team management including Ashwin to bowl round the wicket and target good areas and that it worked out perfectly.
The four then had a laugh as Ashwin congratulated Natarajan for his one run in the innings and stating that he was the one who played Mitchell Starc the best to which the left-arm pacer replied saying, “Anna, first ball kannuke therla na.” (Translation: Brother, I honestly couldn’t even see the first ball that he bowled).