India can look back on a 157-run victory over England in the fourth Test and see plenty of positives emerging for them at The Oval. Virat Kohli recovering his touch with a fifty and 44, Cheteshwar Pujara getting another half-century, and the form of two of their leading pacers – Jasprit Bumrah and Umesh Yadav – have all contributed to the team’s success.
While Bumrah took four wickets in the contest, his stats of 2/27 in the second innings were simply fantastic, as he showed off his reverse-swing skills. Umesh, who played his first Test since December 2020, was his partner and completed with a match haul of six wickets. The most significant benefit for India from the Oval Test appears to be Shardul Thakur’s all-round abilities.
With a half-century at the Gabba, Thakur had already made an impression with the bat, but his twin fifties against England have further added to his reputation as a reliable all-rounder. Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar believes India has unearthed a long-term player in Thakur, particularly for Test matches played overseas.
“Look, at the moment… everything he touches is turning into gold. I mean, some of the shots he played were glorious… the thumping six, the straight drive. They were absolutely delightful to watch. And the confidence with which he batted, you could see. And that was most impressive about him,” Gavaskar said on Sony Sports Network.
Thakur stepped out to bat with the club in serious circumstances at 127/7 after taking 1/54 in the first innings. Thakur, batting at No. 8, smashed a half-century of 57 off 36 balls, including seven fours and a six, to help India reach 191. After losing Ravindra Jadeja, Virat Kohli, and Ajinkya Rahane in the second innings, it appeared that India’s lead would be cut to roughly 220. Thakur, on the other hand, delivered more fireworks with the bat, reaching his second fifty of the match and adding a century partnership with Rishabh Pant for the seventh wicket. Thakur then took the first England wicket with the ball and then added the dangerous skipper Joe Root to the list.
“In England particularly, when the ball is moving around, he bowled an absolute beauty of a delivery. It pitched and just left the left-handed Rory Burns, who was batting well. To deceive a batsman with that kind of delivery takes something special and that’s what he produced. And then of course, there was getting Joe Root out. He’s got that ball which comes in and Root, looking to run the ball down point, got that inside edge because the ball had nipped back in,” Gavaskar added.
“He’s contributing with the bat, he’s contributing with the ball. India have found just the player they need for the team at No. 8, definitely in England and perhaps in South Africa as well.”
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