Brisbane Test: Sundar, Thakur bring India back in the hunt
Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur headlined the Indian innings in the final session on Day 3 of the ongoing Brisbane Test. Although the duo was dismissed toward the day's close, their knocks helped India stage a comeback in the match. Earlier, the likes of Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mayank Agarwal and Rishabh Pant departed in quick succession. Here are the key takeaways.
India resumed from their overnight score of 62/2. They were soon reduced to 186/6, with Australia getting rid of the middle-order. As India appeared to be faltering, Sundar and Thakur inflicted their dominance on the Australian bowlers. The duo shared a 123-run stand before India were bundled out on 336. Gaining a first-innings lead of 33 runs, Australia finished on 21/0 at stumps.
Both Thakur and Sundar used their experience from white-ball cricket that drove India forward in the second session. Thakur (67) emerged as the aggressor, while Sundar (62) dealt with the bowlers carefully. The two lower-order batsmen added 123 runs for the seventh wicket, that steadied India's ship. This turned out to the third-highest 100+ seventh-wicket partnership for India in Australia.
The last time India's number 7 (Sundar) and 8 (Thakur) scored 50+ in same innings in an away Test (neither of them a wicketkeeper) was at Manchester in 1982 (Sandeep Patil 129* and Kapil Dev 65).
Sundar's gritty knock drew more praise as he projected his technique like a proper top-order batsman. He slammed his maiden half-century on his debut Test innings, after taking three wickets with the ball. With this, he has become the second Indian to register a 50+ score and take three-plus wickets, each in debut innings after Dattu Phadkar (51 and 3/14 vs Australia, 1947/48).
For Australia, pace spearhead Josh Hazlewood remained the pick of bowlers. He provided the hosts some crucial breakthroughs in the first half of Day 3. Eventually, he ended up taking a five-wicket haul, his ninth in Test cricket. Meanwhile, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins scalped two wickets apiece. Off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who is chasing the 400-wicket mark, could take only one wicket.