With the fortune of India dangling by a slim thread as Rishabh Pant lost himself to an absolute stunner from Green at Gully, India was staring at a void so astronomical that it was bound to drag India down to the gutters. This is when Shardul Thakur walked into the middle alongside a struggling Washington Sundar.
Hazlewood spared no expenses to ensure that Thakur feels the agony of the formidable Australian pace troika, and he greeted him with 147 clicks. Washington Sundar previously was hailed to the crease by Hazlewood’s sweet chin music as the southpaw ducked and let it go to the safe arms of Tim Paine.
Thakur, however, after adjusting himself for the first few deliveries chose to give it back to the Australia bowlers as he smacked Pat Cummins wide of the fine leg boundary. Then following it up with a well-patched couple, Thakur carved a glorious drive through the mid-off boundary.
This was just the beginning of what was supposed to be the extreme point of frustration for the Australian bowlers. Fortune sided with India as after trading a good deal of deliveries, Sundar managed to edge Mitchell Starc’s breezy 148 clicks through the slip and the gully for a boundary.
It was highly possible that Sundar had some unfinished vendetta with Starc to attend to as he started taking the vanguard of Australian fast bowling head-on. Once again after stealing a crucial couple of runs, he flicked the Australian southpaw away from the backward of square with some classic elegance that is generally exuded by an elegant batsman.
The next delivery would rekindle the memories of Rahul Dravid caressing McGrath through the covers for those ecstatic cover-drives. Shardul Thakur drove Starc through the covers in a picture-perfect cover drive.
As the partnership started brewing further, Thakur opted to pepper Hazlewood this time as he glanced him down the leg-side which was followed by a lucky inside-edge that in the cricketing lexicon can be termed as lemon-cut rushing down to the ropes.
Every single time Thakur smashed a boundary, it was not an isolated one. They were always coming in pairs and after marauding Starc and Hazlewood, the man in turn to feel the agony of the Indian tail-ender was Pat Cummins. He clipped a brilliant stroke by just opening the edge of the bat to see the ball rushing down to the boundary. He followed it up with another soft edge to race away to the ropes.
As the partnership grew deeper and deeper, Australia started losing their calm and bowled a lot more loose deliveries for the duo to pounce upon and condemn them.
Shardul Thakur was in there for jogging back a few sweet memories of earlier batsmen from India, as he danced down the track to smoke Lyon for a beautiful sixer down the long-on. The last time we saw this stroke in its fullest glory against an Australian spinner, Shane Warne bore the brunt of Sachin Tendulkar’s ire.
Washington Sundar brought the century to stand with a classic cover-drive that bisected the gap in the covers in two equal hemispheres.
After a valiant 67 from 89 deliveries that saw Shardul Thakur peppering the best of the Australian lot with some exquisite strokes, Pat Cummins finally managed to get through his defence and kiss the timbre with an absolute screamer. The partnership reaped India a valuable 123 runs that shattered the previous record held by Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar at Gabba for the 7th wicket.
As India was reduced to 309 for 7, Washington Sundar still continued his battle single-handed which also saw him clubbing Nathan Lyon into the stands without even looking at the ropes. Sundar was finally dismissed at 62 when he was caught by Cameron Green in the gully, what one would call another blinder.
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