WATCH: Shardul Thakur’s outrageous no-look six while eclipsing Sir Ian Botham’s record


Pacer Shardul Thakur’s magnificent counterattacking half-century on Day 1 of the fourth Test against England helped India keep themselves in the contest and the series.

Walking into bat with India 117/6 and staring down the barrel, Thakur produced an innings of great intent and powerhitting skills. He smashed 57 runs off just 36 balls to extend the visitors’ total to a more respectable 191 all out.

Thakur’s half-century broke a longstanding record as he inched ahead of Sir Ian Botham to be the holder of the fastest Test fifty in England ever.

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Shardul Thakur

Shardul Thakur took on Chris Woakes, England’s best bowler on the day.

Shardul Thakur smashes Chris Woakes for a no-look maximum

The rearguard knock from India’s aggressive No.8 included as many as seven fours and three sixes, one of which was an exceptional no-look maximum through deep mid-wicket against England’s best seam bowler on the day – Chris Woakes.

Woakes picked up 4 wickets for only 55 runs on his comeback to the England Test team but during that passage bowling to Shardul Thakur, even the usually incisive seam and swing bowler was made to look clueless and got taken for multiple boundaries.

Thakur’s brilliance changed the mood of the play and shifted the momentum back in India’s favour as they later reduced England to 53/3 by the close of play.

The timely blitz from the man certainly lifted the spirits within the Indian change room and that reflected in the way India bowled for the last 17 overs of the day, especially seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav.

Following stumps, Shardul Thakur talked to the host broadcasters Sky Sports and revealed how his teammates have been teasing him by the name of “Beefy” since his record-breaking knock. Beefy is the widely known nickname of Botham, the former England captain, who is one of the greatest all-rounders to have played the game.

“I was not aware of it (Ian Botham’s record). But it’s always good to score important runs for the team. Yes, these guys are teasing me with his name. But I think it’s good to be compared with the greats of the game,” Thakur said.

Thakur also mentioned that he backed himself to play as attackingly as he did since it was the need of the hour for him and India. The right-hander had an astonishing strike-rate of 158.33 in difficult batting conditions against an English attack with their tails up.

“When Rishabh got out, it was important for me to play such an innings,” he said. “There are two ways, either you can be patient and bank on the partner to score runs or go and hit it. But at the end of the day, you have to score the runs.”

“I think there is no right way of scoring runs. Runs are runs. Today was a day where I could connect properly. So I kept going for the runs.”

A cricket writer by heart and profession. Currently at work for CricXtasy. Previously with Circle of Cricket. You can find him on Twitter @crickashish217