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T Natarajan shows 'character' on international debut

Wednesday - December 2, 2020 7:15 pm , Category : SPORTS
Canberra, Dec 2 (IANS) While India had a number of heroes in Wednesday's win in the third ODI against Australia -- Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli with the bat, and Shardul Thakur with the ball -- debutant T Natarajan showed plenty of confidence to chip in with a couple of important wickets.
Natarajan, who was a late entrant to India ODI squad, removed Marnus Labuschagne early to ensure India did not concede a century opening stand in Wednesday's match, like they had in the first two games. He then came back in his final spell to get rid of Ashton Agar (28), who looked capable of taking the game away from India.
Natarajan's ability to come back and take Agar's wicket after being thrashed by Glenn Maxwell earned him rave reviews from teammate Shardul Thakur, who said that the left-arm seamer showed character.
Natarajan played Wednesday's tie as India made four changes, including in pace bowling -- bringing him and Thakur in after benching fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Navdeep Saini.
"He is good. He did well in the IPL, bowling those yorkers," said Thakur of his teammate in post-match interaction with the media.
"But he came back (after a thrashing) in this game and showed character. That is most important. We need players like that, those who can come back," added Thakur.
Natarajan was initially picked to accompany the team only as a net bowler, was drafted in the T20I squad on November 9 as replacement to the injured Varun Chakravarthy, and then as cover for Navdeep Saini in the ODI squad just a day before the series began on November 27. He was called up due to his performances for his Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise SunRisers Hyderabad in the 2020 season in which he picked 16 wickets in as many matches.
"He is developing as a bowler," added Thakur.
The Tamil Nadu bowler, who opened the bowling with Jasprit Bumrah on Wednesday, bowled an impressive early spell of 4-1-21-1. He returned for another good spell -- 2-0-9-0.
He leaked 14 runs in an over during his third spell, which was the time when Maxwell was going after the bowling. It was in the fourth spell that he showed character. After going for 18 runs in the first over of that spell, his eighth, he came back to pick Agar's wicket and conceded just eight in the last two overs. He was, of course, helped by the fact that Maxwell had already been removed when he came in to bowl the final spell.

--IANS kh/rkm