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World Test Championship 2021/23

WTC final: Shardul Thakur equals Bradman with third Oval fifty to keep India fighting

Shardul Thakur equald Don Bradman with record third fifty at The Kia Oval
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Playing his first Test since July 2022, Shardul Thakur kept Australia at bay with a plucky half-century from No.8, helping India recover from 152-6 to reach 298 at the Kia Oval, during day three of the World Test Championship final.

Thakur acted as the ideal foil to Ajinkya Rahane, himself returning to international cricket after a year and a half: Rahane finished on 89, his highest Test score in three years. The seventh-wicket stand accounted for 109 runs, giving them a slender chance of making a comeback into the Test. On the way, Thakur and Rahane reached multiple batting milestones.

Two balls into the third day, India lost wicketkeeper KS Bharat to Scott Boland. Soon enough, the pitch showed signs of inconsistent bounce, making it difficult for the batters to defy Australia’s pace attack. According to CricViz, the inconsistency was measured at 9.3/10 in the first session, with Thakur looking particularly uncomfortable and copping multiple blows to the body.


However, both batters showed great resolve as they not only fought it out but also threw enough counter-punches to send the Aussies into panic mode. The partnership scored 109 runs in just 142 balls, making it the sixth century partnership for India for the seventh wicket or lower in Tests in England.

Thakur continued his brilliant run at the Kia Oval as he scored a third successive Test half-century at the ground, becoming only the third visiting batter after Sir Don Bradman and Allan Border to score three consecutive fifty-plus scores at the venue. Now that is some elite company.

In fact, this was Thakur’s fourth fifty-plus score in away Test matches since 2020 – three at the Kia Oval and one at the Gabba. Among Indian batters in this period, only Cheteshwar Pujara (ten) and Rishabh Pant (seven) have more fifty-plus scores in away or neutral Tests. Thakur is joint third with Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, and KL Rahul.

To top it all, all three of Thakur’s half-centuries at the Kia Oval have come from No.8, making him just the second batter to have three or more fifty-plus scores while batting at No.8 at this venue in Test matches. Only England wicketkeeper Alan Knott has more – four.

Among Indians batting at No.8 in away or neutral Test matches, Thakur is now joint-second in terms of the number of fifty-plus scores with Ravindra Jadeja. Only former India captain Kapil Dev has more fifty-plus scores at No.8 in away or neutral Test matches for India – six.

This rearguard action by Thakur has drawn lots of reactions on social media, with many hailing the ‘Lord’ for bringing India back in the game once again.

To bet on the World Test Championship final with our Match Centre partners bet365, head here.

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