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Watch: Rank tail-ender T Natarajan somehow survives full 90mph Starc over, breaks record streak of noughts with 1* on Test debut

T Natarajan surviving against Mitchell Starc
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Watch: T Natarajan, a cricketer of little batting credentials, survived a full over of searing pace from Mitchell Starc on Test debut.

Natarajan went to Australia in 2021/22 as a limited-overs specialist, and made wisdwhis debut in both ODIs and T20Is on the tour. The Indian camp retained him as a net bowler for the Test series.

However, Ishant Sharma was unavailable, and Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Jasprit Bumrah all picked up injuries during the Test matches, forcing India to field one debutant after another.


For the last Test match, in Brisbane, India fielded a bowling attack consisting of Mohammed Siraj (playing his third Test match), Navdeep Saini (second), Shardul Thakur (second), and the debutants, Washington Sundar and Natarajan.

This attack did well to bowl out Australia for 369. Opening bowling with Siraj, Natarajan got 3-78, the best figures of the innings. His wickets included Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Wade.

Sundar (62) and Thakur (67) then lifted India from 186-6 to 328-9 when Natarajan walked out to join Siraj. However, there was a problem.

While not a regular in first-class cricket, Natarajan already held an Indian record in the format (he still holds it), of most consecutive innings without scoring a run.

Natarajan had come into this Test match after a sequence of 0, 0*, 0*, 0*, 0, 0, 0, 0*, 0*, 0 – two short of Mark Robinson’s world record of going 12 innings without scoring a run. He had last scored a run more than two years ago.

A man with this batting calibre was up against Starc, one of the fastest bowlers of the generation, on the true, bouncy pitch of the Gabba.

Starc bowled short. Natarajan survived. He later admitted to have not seen the ball. You cannot blame him.

Siraj brought him back on strike next over. He was beaten by the first ball, then, to the astonishment of everyone, he got off the mark with a bizarre flat-batted shot to mid-off. Robinson’s record survived.

Unfortunately, Siraj’s inability to retain strike exposed Natarajan to a full over from Starc.

Natarajan was beaten by the first ball. The second came menacingly for his elbow, but he somehow kept it down. He was beaten again, and moved away from the fourth ball.

To the fifth, an attempted yorker, he brought his bat down in time. To the sixth, another yorker, he brought his bat down again but missed. The ball would have missed leg-stump. The slowest delivery was clocked at 146.6kph.

Hazlewood took out Siraj at the other end. Natarajan survived to tell the tale of having kept Starc and Hazlewood away for nine balls. He did not need to bat again as India scripted a famous win.

He is yet to play another first-class match. In every format – Test, ODI, T20I, first-class, List A, T20 – he has fewer runs than wickets.

Watch T Natarajan survive Mitchell Starc on Test debut:

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