'Seen nothing like this': Shardul Thakur's bizarre precaution after copping consecutive body blows stuns Ponting, DK
As a cautionary sign, Shardul pulled on a front arm guard — and, much to the humour of Ponting and Karthik on air, one on the wrong arm as well.
It's been a painful first few days of the World Test Championship final for Team India, both on the scorecard and physically on the pitch. After a draining 121 overs in the field bowling to Australia's batters, the Indian unit took to bat against a fired up Australian line-up but struggled to get going. To add insult to injury, Day 2 ended with several Indian batters copping blows of the red Dukes ball from Australia's fiery pacers.
Ajinkya Rahane took one to the glove, one to the forearm, and one on the helmet for good measure, while KS Bharat was also struck twice in one over on his forearm late on day 2. The wicketkeeper-bat would be dismissed in the very first over of Day 3 by Scott Boland, and his replacement Shardul Thakur was treated to the same violence by the Australian bowlers, resulting in one of the more comical scenes of the Test match to this point.
Pat Cummins turned up the heat this morning, and Shardul was in the firing line. Facing the Australia captain, Shardul had entered the field of play without any arm guards. However, he was rattled on the right hand by the Aussie pacer, forcing the Indian team physio to rush out to make sure all was okay with Shardul's bowling arm. Immediately on the next delivery, Shardul was struck yet again by an even fiercer delivery, this time on the forearm.
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Taking this as a cautionary sign, Shardul pulled on a front arm guard — and, much to the humour of Ricky Ponting and Dinesh Karthik on air, an arm guard on the wrong arm as well, to protect his bowling arm from Cummins’ fiery spell. In an amusing image after a while, Shardul was pictured suddenly wearing arm guards on both arms. After a delay spent getting things in order, Cummins was yet again on the money in this attacking spell of bowling at India’s number eight, once again striking the bat handle. "I've never seen anything like it," said Ponting, after which Karthik added: "Neither have I."
Usually a free-flowing batter known for his counter-attacking innings in dangerous situations, the pace and bounce from the Australian seamers seems to have tempered Shardul's intent, causing some hilarious reactions on Twitter as well.
Shardul would be given a second chance, dropped by Cameron Green of Cummins’ bowling in the subsequent over. He continues to provide dogged support to Ajinkya Rahane, as the duo seek to chip away at the Australian total and ensure the follow-on total is bypassed. Shardul in particular batted with a lot of grit and determination, adding a much-needed century partnership with Rahane to give India a glimmer of hope.