Shardul Thakur was playing in just his second Test match for India at the Gabba but he shone with both bat and ball and looked right at home at the top level.
Thakur’s debut Test against the West Indies in 2018 didn’t quite go according to plan.
The right-arm pacer picked up an injury in just his second over and was unable to bowl again in the match, while he came in at no.11 in India’s only innings and scored just 4 not out.
He then had to wait over two years for a second bite at the cherry and it only arrived in the fourth Test because of an injury crisis.
Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were all ruled out, and so, Thakur was called upon.
The 29-year-old doesn’t have express pace, nor is his batting technique without its flaws.
Yet, he produced a superb individual performance that was key to inflicting a first defeat upon Australia at the Gabba since 1988.
Thakur picked up the wicket of opener Marcus Harris with his first ball of the match and he later added the scalps of Tim Paine and Pat Cummins to finish with first-innings figures of 3-94.
Many felt the absence of Ashwin for this Test would weaken India’s batting lineup as well as their bowling attack.
Yet, Thakur slotted in seamlessly at no.8, cracking nine fours and two sixes in a fearless knock, as he contributed 67 runs to a match-turning partnership of 123 with Washington Sundar.
By the time the third innings came around, he had already contributed plenty.
Yet, he wasn’t done there.
He bowled with skill, discipline and passion, finding swing and sending down well-directed bouncers.
He removed Harris and Paine again, while also dismissing the dangerous Cameron Green and Nathan Lyon on his way to figures of 4-61.
Thakur and Mohammed Siraj were the destroyers in chief as Australia were bowled out for 294 with an unlikely victory still possible for the depleted tourists.
Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant were the main contributors to the chase, with Thakur coming and going quickly for 2. By that point, though, victory had been all but secured.
In just his second Test appearance for his country, Shardul Thakur played a key role in one of its finest ever victories and ahead of the visit of England, he’s very much staked his claim for a regular spot in the India XI.