Shardul Thakur: Dismissing Steve Smith early was huge

Shardul took three wickets in his 10-over spell, including the key wicket of Steve Smith, as Australia was dismissed for 289 in the final over of its chase.

Shardul Thakur registered figures of 3 for 51 in Canberra on Wednesday. - AP

The Indian team was keen to notch up its first win of its tour of Australia and the absence of David Warner due to injury presented it with a good opportunity to do so, seamer Shardul Thakur said after helping India defeat Australia by 13 runs at the Manuka Oval.

Shardul took three wickets in his 10-over spell, including the key wicket of Steve Smith.

“In this game Warner was not playing. That was on our minds. We thought we could take advantage of the situation and put the Australian team on the backfoot and try to win this game so that this momentum carried into the T20 series,” Shardul told mediapersons at the press conference after the contest.

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Smith departed for a single-digit score (7) after scoring two centuries in the first two ODIs. Shardul removed him in the 12th over of the chase; Smith was dismissed caught behind as he tried to play a glance.

‘Lucky’ 

“When Steve Smith was batting, we had planned to bowl at the stumps [to him]. He edged it down the leg side, so we were kind of lucky that way. But I appreciate that wicket. He’s a top player, and getting him early in the innings while defending 302, I think it’s a huge wicket,” Shardul said.

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Shardul felt bowlers would have to be smart and be able to execute their plans well to be effective in the batting-friendly pitches of the type that the teams played on in this series. Commenting on his game-plan for the contest, he said, “If you see the Australian teams have played their cut and pull a lot, and I just tried to keep them off those shots and make them play in straighter lines (sic). It worked for me.”

Shardul appreciated the bowling of debutant and fellow seamer T. Natarajan, who took two wickets for 70 in his 10 overs. “In white-ball cricket, you are going to get hit as a bowler, but what is important is you come back, you bowl again, develop that confidence, and take it on from there,” Shardul said.

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