‘Rahane and Thakur sent a message to India’s top-order': Ganguly's indirect jibe at Rohit, Kohli after late fight back
Reacting to Rahane and Thakur's superb partnership, former India captain Sourav Ganguly said the duo sent out a message to the Indian top-order.
Ajinkya Rahane and Shardul Thakur coped with multiple body blows. They called for the physio on many occasions. They looked uncomfortable at times when Pat Cummins and Scott Boland got the ball to bounce awkwardly from the good-length area. But they did not let their guard down. They did not walk away from the fight. They stood there biting their lips, battling like warriors. And after two hours of hard grind and a great show of determination, they took India to 260 for 6 at Lunch on Day 3 forging an unbroken partnership of 108 runs for the seventh wicket.
Australia still are in the driver's seat, mind you. For India are still some distance away from even getting close to their first innings total of 469. But from where the day started, with Boland cleaning up overnight batter KS Bharat in the third ball of Friday, India would be happy to at least snatch a session from Australia.
The fear of follow-on would have been at its peak among Indian fans when Bharat's stumps were disturbed in the first over of the day. India's score read: 152/6, still 118 runs away from confirming that Australia can't even think to put them in again.
But since then, Shardul and Rahane have held the fort. It was not easy by any means and they got a bit of help from the Australian fielders - Shardul was dropped by Green, Rahane was dropped at first slip - and Cummis too - he got Shardul LBW in the last over before lunch but it was adjudged a no-ball as he had overstepped. But the way they put them all behind and continued to bat with patience was commendable.
More so, because of the number of times they were hit. Shardul was hit on his right hand at least three times by Cummins in the same over, forcing him to ask for an arm guard on both hands. Rahane too was rammed on his fingers a couple of times.
By Lunch, Rahane progressed from 29 overnight to 89, his best score in 2 1/2 years, and Thakur was on 36. Their incredibly fraught and ferocious stand was an unbeaten 108 runs from 22 overs, easily India's best partnership so far in reply to Australia's 469. This was also India's first-ever century stand in the WTC final.
Reacting to Rahane and Thakur's superb partnership, former India captain Sourav Ganguly said the duo sent out a message to the Indian top-order on how to be patient and guts it out in overseas conditions.
"They showed it to the dressing room that if you apply and have a little bit of luck then you will be able to score runs on this wicket. Credit to Rahane, he was magnificent. Shardul got battered and bruised early on but he hung in there. He has batted well in the past in England and Australia. It's a good fightback from India. This is a message to the top order," Ganguly said in the post-lunch show on Star Sports.