I'm no dud with the bat, says unlikely India batting hero Thakur


(Reuters) - Regular captain Virat Kohli led the tributes to Shardul Thakur's brave batting in the Brisbane decider but the number eight batsman was underwhelmed by his praise as he never considered himself a dud with the bat.

Thakur, playing his second test, emerged as India's unlikely batting hero, top-scoring with a counter-attacking 67 to deny Australia a substantial first-innings lead.

Debutant Washington Sundar was his partner in a 123-run seventh-wicket stand as both made their maiden test fifties in the fourth and final game of the series on Sunday.

They were not even part of India's original squad but were shoehorned into the team following injuries to frontline bowlers.

"Outstanding application and belief by @Sundarwashi5 and @imShard. This is what test cricket is all about," Kohli, who returned home after the opening test to attend the birth of his daughter, said on Twitter.

Thakur, who claimed three wickets in Australia's first innings, said he did not want to waste an opportunity to impress with the bat.

"I do believe I have some batting talent," the seamer said in a video conference.

"I do work on my batting in the nets. We wait for these moments, these opportunities, to contribute with the bat."

Thakur brought up his fifty by hitting spinner Nathan Lyon for six and India, reeling at 186-6, were past the 300-mark when Pat Cummins pegged back his off-stump.

"We were not even looking at the scoreboard. The idea was to spend some time there," Thakur said.

"We knew that their bowlers were tiring out a bit, so if we could hang in for one more hour we could be on top."

The 29-year-old said they patiently waited to punish loose balls.

"If one of us lost focus or played a rash stroke, we'd immediately communicate with each other and say 'Let's go back to normal and do our basics'," he said.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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