After starring with a seven-wicket haul on Tuesday, Shardul Thakur made a key contribution with the bat for India on day three of the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

Thakur’s brilliant spell of fast bowling, which saw him return with figures of 7/61, helped India restrict South Africa’s first innings lead to 27 runs.

And on Wednesday, with India having lost four wickets for 29 runs after a strong partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, it was Thakur who raised his hand once again to make a valuable contribution.

Archive: Shardul Thakur’s cricket is driven by his competitiveness

The right-hander hit five fours and a six in a counterattacking 28 off 24 to provide India much-needed momentum and take their lead close to 200 runs.

Thakur’s flair with the bat was on display as he played some powerful strokes in the air and along the ground to put the Proteas under pressure.

During the 30-year-old’s knock on Wednesday, Eric Simons, who is a bowling consultant for Indian Premier League franchise Chennai Super Kings, shared an interesting story about Thakur and how the all-rounder worked hard on his batting over the past few years.

Here’s what Simons said:

“I have to tell the story of Shardul’s batting. It’s a lot to do with his character. He is in the same franchise as I am, with CSK. Two years ago in the IPL final against Mumbai Indians, we needed one off the last ball to tie and two to win. He walked to the wicket, facing Lasith Malinga and he was out last ball of the match LBW. He was devastated to lose that match. He was sitting in a corner for I don’t know how long! That’s his character. Nobody could tell him, nobody could console him... ‘listen it wasn’t your fault’. In fact, he bowled particularly well in that match. The point I am trying to make is what that match did to him. He resolved to go out and make sure ‘that will never happen to me again’. To become the batter that he has... the amount of work he puts in on his batting... even with all the calypso style shots we talk about, there’s a lot of orthodoxy in the way he goes about his batting. It says a lot about the character of the man that he rose from that position.”

— CSK coach Eric Simons via Star Sports commentary