From net bowler to test debut, India's Natarajan continues fairytale journey
BRISBANE: T Natarajan's fairytale trip to Australia continued on Friday when the left-arm quick, who arrived as a net bowler, became the first Indian player to make his international debut in all three formats during the same tour.
Known for his pinpoint yorkers, which troubled batsmen in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Natarajan made his international Twenty20 and one-day debut last month.
And the 29-year-old became India's 300th test player on Friday, essentially because the injury-ravaged tourists had run out of options to fill the holes in their depleted pace attack.
India had already lost the services of quicks Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, and spearhead Jasprit Bumrah joined the lengthy injury list after hurting his abdomen in the drawn third test in Sydney.
Natarajan would have had his maiden test wicket earlier in the match had Cheteshwar Pujara not dropped Marnus Labuschagne but after the tea break he delivered a two-wicket burst to end Australia's only century-plus partnership of the first innings.
Natarajan cramped Matthew Wade for room and the batsman still went for a pull shot only to scoop it behind the bowler.
Three players, including Natarajan, gathered under the ball and nearly collided before Shardul Thakur took the catch.
In his next over, Natarajan induced another mistimed pull shot to see off centurion Labuschagne.
"I think 'Nattu' bowled really well today," said fellow Tamil Nadu player Washington Sundar, who also made his test debut in the match replacing injured spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
"It feels really good to make test debut alongside him.
"He is a champion bowler and I hope he does really well in this test and we can win this game," added the spin-bowling all-rounder.
Australia finished opening day of the final test on 274-5 with the engrossing four-match series level at 1-1.