London [UK], June 10 (ANI): After producing a gritty half-century against the rampant Aussies, the third consecutive one at the Oval, ace Indian all-rounder Shardul Thakur said on Saturday that he was in pain while taking some blows to his body on Day 3 of the ongoing World Test Championship final, but played through it for the sake of his team.
"If we think too far ahead right now, it would be silly. We have to take things as they come. Just want to take the game forward as it comes. The pitch has been behaving funny. When the game started the ball was nipping around. Then there was up and down bounce on Days 2 and 3. I was in a bit of pain (after those blows). I felt I had to stand there and keep negotiating for the team," Thakur said at the close of play on Day 4.
Shardul's counterattacking 51(109), in the company of Ajinkya Rahane, who fell short of what would have been a fine century on comeback, gave India hope of a turnaround after two tough days in the field.
In his last three matches, between 202 and 2023, so far, the India all-rounder has three overseas half-centuries -- 57(36), 60(72) and 51(109) -- to his credit. In the process, he equalled the legendary Sir Donald Bradman and Allan Border.
Sir Don Bradman scored three consecutive 50-plus scores during 1930-1934 while former Australia captain Allan Border achieved the same feat during 1985-1989.
At The Oval, Thakur has scored 168 runs at an average of 56.00, notching up three fifties in three innings.
Coming to the match, Australia was 123/4 at the end of day three, with Cameron Green (7) and Marnus Labuschagne (41) unbeaten. They led India by 296 runs.
Usman Khawaja (13) and David Warner (1) fell early as they were snapped up Siraj and Umesh Yadav while Ravindra Jadeja (2/25) dismissed the twin centurions from the previous innings -- Steve Smith (34) and Travis Head (18).
In their first innings, India were bundled out for 296, trailing Australia by 173 runs.
India's top order failed in their first innings but contributions from comeback man Ajinkya Rahane (89 in 129 balls, 11 fours and a six), Shardul Thakur (51 in 109 balls with six fours) and Ravindra Jadeja (48 in 51 balls with seven fours and a six) helped India register a fighting score after being reduced to 71/4.
Pat Cummins (3/83), Nathan Lyon (2/19), Cameron Green (2/44), Scott Boland (2/59) and Mitchell Starc (2/71) were among the wickets for Australia.
Australia's 469 runs in the first innings were powered largely by centuries from Travis Head (163 in 174 balls, 25 fours and a six), and Steve Smith (121 in 268 balls, 19 fours).
Siraj (4/108) was the pick of the bowlers for India in the first innings, with Shardul Thakur and Mohammed Shami getting two wickets apiece and Jadeja also scalping one. (ANI)