India all-rounder Shardul Thakur said he was delighted to break Ian Botham’s record for the fastest Test fifty in England, revealing a dressing room banter after his heroics with the bat on Day 1 of the Oval Test against England.
Shardul Thakur has been nicknamed ‘Beefy’ by his teammates and head coach in the Indian dressing room and the highly-rated cricketer went on a counter-attacking spree to hit a fifty in just 31 balls, overtaking Beefy Botham on the list of batsmen with the fastest fifties in England in Tests.
India were reeling at 127 for 7 despite a Virat Kohli fifty on Day 1 of the 4th Test and it looked like England would wrap up the innings soon but Shardul counter-attacked, hitting 7 boundaries and 3 sixes for a 36-ball 57. Shardul batted with a lot of conviction and took the England pacers to the cleaners throwing them off the rhythm.
Shardul’s 63-run stand with tail-ender Umesh Yadav for the 8th wicket made sure India posted a respectable first innings total after their big guns, including Rohit Sharma, KL Rahull, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, failed to trouble the scorers much.
“I was not aware of it (breaking Ian Botham’s record). But it’s always good to score important runs for the team. Yes, these guys are teasing me with his name. But I think it’s good to be compared with the greats of the game,” Shardul told the host broadcasters after India fought back on Day 1.
No one right way to score runs: Shardul
Shardul said he decided to take the attack to England bowlers after Rishabh Pant fell for 9. The Mumbai all-rounder said there is no right way of getting runs and he was in the mood to go big on Thursday.
“When Rishabh got out, it was important for me to play such an innings. There are two ways, either you can be patient and bank on the partner to score runs or go and hit it. But at the end of the day, you have to score the runs. I think there is no right way of scoring runs. Runs are runs. Today was a day where I could connect properly. So I kept going for the runs,” he added.
India fought back strong with the big wicket of Joe Root for 21 towards the end of the day’s play. Umesh Yadav got one to nip back and hit the bails as the in-form England captain returned after another brisk start. Earlier, Jasprit Bumrah had rattled England with the new ball, picking up the openers in the same over.
It’s even-stevens after Day 1: Sharul
However, Shardul came up with a guarded opinion, saying the match is in the balance and still a lot is there to be played in the upcoming days of the 4th Test.
“Definitely, at one stage, we felt 150 or 170 as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. But 190 is a score, in the first innings, is going to count. Runs in the first innings are important and I think we have a chance,” he said.
“I think this pitch is good for both batsmen and bowlers. If you keep pitching in the right areas, something is there in the pitch. But at the same time, the margin of error is less as the batsman can score runs.”
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