India were struggling at a score of 186 runs for the loss of six wickets, when Shardul Thakur joined Washington Sundar at the crease. Thakur had a huge task on his hands, as a handy knock from him would certainly help in reducing the first innings deficit.
When he walked out to bat, Shardul Thakur remembered words from his coach, Ravi Shastri which were said before the start of the tour. “When I walked in the situation was difficult, I wouldn’t deny that,” Thakur said in the virtual press conference after the third day’s play. “The crowd was cheering for Australian bowlers, they were on top at that point of time. But I remember our coach Mr Ravi Shastri saying right at the start of the series. He said – if you perform in this country, you will be rewarded and people will love you for your performances. And that one thing was also on my mind. ‘Okay if I perform here then people are also going to love me’.”
Shardul Thakur had scored 67 runs in 115 balls before he was dismissed by Pat Cummins. The Mumbaikar spent 36 overs in the middle stitching an incredible partnership of 123 runs with debutant, Sundar. His knock of 67 runs helped India to a score of 336 runs in the first innings.
“I have a little talent in batting,” he admitted. “In the nets, it is not only bowling. Whenever the throwdown specialists in out team are available, I practice batting too. These are the moments we always wait for. For an opportunity to come so that can contribute for the team. When an opportunity came in this match, the feeling in the mind and heart was to bat long. The longer I batted, the more beneficial it would be for the team because the runs will get added and the lead will become smaller. So the idea was to spend some time on the pitch,” said Thakur.
Both of us were communicating well with each other: Thakur on his partnership with Sundar
Washington Sundar and Thakur had almost never batted with each other in the past. Their partnership on Day Three against a formidable Australian bowling lineup was courageous to say the least. Thakur revealed that he communicated well with Sundar and their chats were minimal but effective.
“I think only once or twice – once I think it was in a T20 game and once I batted with him [Sundar] in a practice game. Both of us have the temperament to succeed at this level. We knew that their bowlers were tiring out a bit. It was a matter of one hour, if we hung in there for one more hour then probably we would be on the top as batsmen because bowlers are already tiring. It was really important for us to hang in there,” he said.
“Both of us were communicating really well with each other. If someone was losing his focus or trying a rash shot, we would immediately communicate with each other that let’s get back to normal and do our basics there. And whenever there was a break, like Tea time or when drinks was about to happen, we’d communicate that let’s slow down the game, the break is about to happen. Those were the small little conversations we had.”