Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has admired the discipline and application of Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur for their brilliant rear-guard batting effort, which kept India in contention in the series-deciding fourth Test.
Washington (62) and Shardul (67) led a splendid lower-order fightback after India were reduced to 186/ 6 in reply to Australia’s 369. The duo stitched 123 runs for the seventh wicket and defied the Australians for 36 overs.
“The batsmanship has been a real standout and their application and concentration. They didn’t throw it away. The partnership was outstanding, exactly what India needed at the time which is what they’ve been able to produce in a few Test matches,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“Shardul at the end went for a shot that probably wasn’t quite on but before that there wasn’t many false shots at all played by either of them.”
Ponting, however, felt Australia lacked aggression and their fast bowlers should have attacked the Indian lower-order with more short-pitched deliveries.
“I don’t think they were aggressive enough, didn’t bowl enough short balls. They let the Indian batsmen be way too comfortable at the crease. They almost bowled the way those batsmen would have wanted them to bowl,” said the legendary batsman.
“It wasn’t until we saw a bit of a barrage from (Mitchell) Starc and even when Shardul got out (bowled by Pat Cummins), it was no surprise it was a ball after a bouncer. I don’t think the Aussies were anywhere near aggressive enough.”
Ponting said the flat Gabba wicket did not help the lethal Australian fast bowling trio, while also crediting the Indians for their fighting spirit throughout the series.
“It’s been a bit of a struggle for them (Australian fast bowlers), the wicket’s been flat, there hasn’t been any sideways movement and certainly no swing.
“And with India we see that they just keep fighting. They’ve been up for the battle and the contest right the way through this series so far,” he said.
“Especially after Adelaide, they’ve been able to produce what they’ve needed to in big moments from there on in.”