New Delhi: How quickly fortune changes is evident in the dramatic manner in which Washington Sundar, originally selected only for the T20 series in Australia, was asked to stay back for the Tests, made his debut in the fourth Test in Brisbane after the mainline bowlers got injured, and became a toast of the nation with his gutsy performance in the win at the Gabba — and with it the series.
Injuries to India’s spin stalwarts Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja during the third Test meant that Sundar was thrust into the cauldron of the Gabba, having previously played just 12 first class matches, the last of which came in 2017 for Tamil Nadu in the Ranji Trophy.
Sundar’s primary role may have been that of a spinner and he fulfilled that by taking three wickets in each Australian innings. His scalps included Australia’s batting stalwarts Steve Smith in the first innings and David Warner in the second just as they were starting to look ominous.
Sundar may have been thrust into the limelight at the Gabba but instead of wilting, he seemed to thrive in it. The innings blindsided many of the commentators but, his father M Sundar, who knows his son’s ability all too well, was slightly disappointed that he did not get a century.
“I am disappointed he did not get a 100. When Siraj came, he should have hit fours and sixes. He is capable of that. He should have gone for sixes. He could have gone for pulls and big hits. Perhaps, he thought of trying to come close to Australia’s total as the lead was very less,” Sundar said.
As if to prove his father’s point, Washington then followed that up with a 29-ball 22 on the final day of the match and his 53-run stand with Rishabh Pant went a long way in India sealing the three-wicket win.