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Guts & glory at Gabba: From a no-look six to dogged defence, how Sundar & Shardul defied odds

Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur formed a 123-run partnership when India was in trouble at 186/6 in reply to Australia’s 369.

Written by Rahul Sadhu |
Updated: January 17, 2021 11:13:27 pm
Washington Sundar and Shardul ThakurWashington Sundar and Shardul Thakur combined for a rearguard century stand. (AP Photo)

Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur came together when the Indian scoreboard read a precarious 186/6. With India tottering and the Baggy Greens threatening to mop up the tail and open up a huge lead, the debutant and Thakur, which just a lone Test match under his belt, combined for an invaluable 123-run partnership to reduce the deficit to 36 runs on Day 3 of the final Test at the Gabba.

This was the 12th time in Test history that India’s No.7 and No.8 registered half-centuries in the same innings, and only the third time it happened outside Asia.

What followed when Thakur joined Sundar in the middle was rearguard action like no other as the duo stitched the highest partnership for the 7th wicket to frustrate the Australian attack.

For someone playing only his second test match and that too, at the unforgiving cauldron called the Gabba, Thakur got off the mark with a six and raised his maiden test half-century with another off Nathan Lyon. He topped India’s scoring chart with a valiant and strokeful 67 off 115 balls.

Sundar, who had a let-off early on when he edged Mitchell Starc between second slip and gully, scored a gutsy 62 from 144 deliveries in his debut test innings.

India’s Shardul Thakur left, and teammate Washington Sundar talk during play on day three of the fourth cricket Test between India and Australia at the Gabba, Brisbane. (AP Photo)

In between some sweetly-struck boundaries, the duo lent some spine to India’s frail lower middle-order as they stood resolute, dodging, ducking and even being hit by lifters that they peppered with by the Australian quicks.

However, a feature about their partnership that left even host commentators impressed was the nonchalance with which the duo took on the Aussie attack. One particular shot that stood out was the no-look six off Lyon as Sundar went down on his knees to a ball tossed up generously and launched it over mid-on, not even bothering to look at the shot.

Thakur was not to be left behind either as he faced Aussie fire with his blazing blade. An authoritative shot off Mitchell Starc, slapping it through the extra cover region, typified his confident and gutsy innings.


Their fightback drew high praise from former India stalwarts as well as current captain Virat Kohli, who is on paternity leave.

The series is level at 1-1 with two days remaining and it appears that India is on track to at least force a draw that would ensure it retains the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

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First published on: 17-01-2021 at 02:23:18 pm

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