Australia’s assistant coach Andrew McDonald is of the opinion that T Natarajan did a great job and there’s lot to like about him. He also added that he found Indian bowlers very disciplined and also lavished praise on Washington Sundar for filling in the place of senior spinner R Ashwin well.
When Thangarasu Natarajan was handed over the Indian Test cap yesterday at the Gabba, he became the first Indian cricketer to make his international debut across all three formats in the same tour. He wasn’t even picked in India’s original limited-overs squad and was travelling with the team as a net bowler. But then injuries forced him to first debut for India in ODIs and then T20Is.
More importantly, Natarajan did a great job and that prompted the India team management to make him a part of the Test side as well although as a net bowler. But injuries to Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah forced India’s hand and allowed make his Test debut at the Gabba with India suffering from a lack of options. On day one, Natarajan made full use of the opportunity and even out bowled far more experienced red-ball bowler Shardul Thakur with his consistency or the impressive Mohammed Siraj.
He also helped India bounce back and finish the day well with quick wickets of Matthew Wade and Marnus Labuschagne after they had added 113 runs for the fourth wicket and were running away with the game. The Tamil Nadu pacer ended as India’s best bowler with figures of 3/78 after 24.2 overs. He also impressed Aussies assistant coach Andrew McDonald, who found a lot to like about the left-arm seamer.
“Natarajan shaped the ball early, there is lot (to like) about him, left-arm swing bowler, no doubt he is inexperienced but has enough played first-class games to be play his first Test on this tour, (that) is a great achievement, so I think they held their own”, McDonald said at the virtual post-day press conference after day two, reported TOI.
The 39-year-old also confessed that he found India’s bowling consistent and praised Washington Sundar for filling in the gaping hole left by R Ashwin as he took three wickets including the big wickets of Steven Smith and Cameron Green.
“I thought they (the Indian bowlers) were very consistent. I thought Washington Sundar in particular was disciplined and fill that role of Ravi Ashwin quite well and kept it tight and was able to take some key wickets on the way. So, for me I suppose, he is a bowler who controlled well the tempo of the game and I think it stood out for me.”
“They (Indian bowlers) applied pressure throughout the innings and they made (it) difficult for ourselves. Times when we felt we would get on the top, they were able to bounce back and get key wickets at crucial times. It was great arm-wrestle, so full credit to their attack,” he said.
Australia at one stage were 200 for 3 and against an inexperienced Indian bowling attack and they would have fancied at least a score in excess of 400 but that wasn’t the case as the hosts got bundled out on 369 in first session of the day two. McDonald, however, reckons that 369 isn’t a bad score at the venue.
“India 2/60, to get (Rohit) Sharma just before the or what was to be the end of the play was very handy. But we had 100 runs today, could that have been more possibly, but in saying that 350 plus at the first innings at the GABBA is not a bad score.
“But there is lot of cricket to be played in this and will define the pretty much the series, one all coming in and all on the line. The overall performance of the series will be defined by the series, no doubt about that,” he added.