Shardul Thakur gave India the right impetuous to bring them back in the game which was running out of their grasp in the second test match at the Wanderers ground by picking his first fifer with a fine display of seam and swing bowling.
South Africa batsman Dean Elgar and Keegan Peterson had seen of the early morning fiery spell of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami had put on 64 crucial runs for the second wicket and were in control of the game. India’s third seamer Mohammed Siraj who was hampered by his hamstring injury was not at its best and Ravichandran Ashwin for a change was leaking runs at more than 3.5 runs per over. It was quite surprising to see Stand in captain KL Rahul bring Shardul to bowl after Ashwin but the
moment he came on bowl, things started happening. He first got rid of South Africa’s captain who was holding one end with his gritty batting and then got the key wicket of the free flowing Keegan Petersen (62 runs) who was scoring the bulk of the runs in the first session. From 88/1 South Africa had gone to lunch at 102/4. That’s when Temba Bavuma and Wicket keeper Kyle Verreynee stitched another partnership of 60 and captain KL Rahul was running out of ideas. It was Shardul once again who got both the set players to get his fifer in Test cricket in only his sixth tea march and got India back in the game leaving South Africa at 191/7 at Tea.
Shardul Thakur had made his mark with the bat in his second test match in Brisbane when he scored 67 and reduced India’s deficit to just 30 runs and also picked up seven wickets which proved to be crucial in India winning the test match and the series against Australia. He carried on his good work in the fourth test match at the Oval against England by scoring two half centuries which made India not only come back in the match but to win that test match when India was down and out. And today again when Bumrah and Shami were not able to make inroads, it was the golden arm of Thakur who was brought on to bowl after 35 overs by his captain but did the trick for his team and keep the game in balance.
Thakurs magical spell has given team India the chance to keep South Africa’s lead under control. History says batting last at the Wanderers wicket is very tough and if Indian batsman can put up 200 runs, it would be India’s best chance to not only win the test but also their first series.
Things tend to happen on the cricket field when Shardul Thakur either has the bat or the ball in his hand, no wonder he is called Lord Thakur.