T Natarajan celebrated his elevation from backup bowler to cricket’s most elite level by taking a three-wicket haul as India bowled Australia out for 369 on Day 2 of the fourth Test in Brisbane on Saturday.
Natarajan’s fairytale rise in the last three months has been one of the most heartening cricketing stories. The BCCI had initially named him as a net bowler for the Australian tour. However, because of multiple injuries in the Indian camp, Natarajan made his debut in all formats Down Under.
Natarajan became the first Indian player to make debuts in all 3 formats — T20I, ODI and Test on the same tour. He is the 17th player overall to do so. He becomes the second India player to do so after Bhuvneshwwar Kumar in the same season.
Natarajan joined former India pacer, RP Singh, in an elite list as he cleaned up the last man Josh Hazlewood to return with impressive figures of 3 for 78 on his Test debut. Notably, this is the 2nd best figures for an Indian left-arm pacer on debut after RP Singh’s 4 for 89 against Pakistan back in 2005/06.
Best figures in debut innings by a left-arm seamer (India)
4/89 RP Singh v Pakistan Faisalabad 2005/06 3/78 T NATARAJAN v Australia Brisbane 2020/21 * 3/97 SS Nyalchand v Pakistan Lucknow 1952/53
Another debutant for India Washington Sundar took 3 for 89 and Shardul Thakur had figures of 3 for 94 in only his second Test match. India, who lost the toss and were sent into bowl on day one, are shorthanded in the attack, with seamer Navdeep Saini having suffered a groin injury.
The series is tied 1-1 and India needs only a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy. But the inexperienced Indian bowling attack did exceptionally well to contain Australia despite missing pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.