The fifth and final day of the third Test between Australia and India was expected to be a blockbuster one as India aimed to chase down 407 runs to win in the fourth innings. They started the day at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 98/2, needing a further 309 runs to win the match.
Nathan Lyon struck the first blow, removing Ajinkya Rahane for 4 runs, but that brought in Rishabh Pant to the crease. He was promoted over Hanuma Vihari to bring impetus to the innings, with Cheteshwar Pujara blocking the other end.
The duo put together 148 runs for the 4th wicket stand, in which Pant slammed 97 off 118 balls with 12 fours and 3 sixes. His amazing counterattacking innings put Australia on the back foot as he took on the Australian bowlers, left, right, and center.
Pujara, on the other end, was content with anchoring the innings. Pant was looking good for his second consecutive century at the SCG when he mishit one to Pat Cummins at point who took a good catch.
Australia then had Pujara clean bowled by Josh Hazlewood ripper for 77 off 205 balls. This gave them a sniff at the chance of a victory, as Ashwin came in to join Hanuma Vihari. The next man in was Ravindra Jadeja, who had a fractured thumb on his left hand, and then the tail started.
Vihari had also injured his hamstring and was unable to run the quick singles or doubles and the duo decided to stonewall for the remaining 40 plus overs.
India’s monumental effort was aided by Tim Paine dropping Rishabh Pant twice and Hanuma Vihari once. Vihari (23* in 161 balls, 4 fours) and Ashwin (39* in 138 balls, 7 fours) stonewalled for 256 deliveries adding 62 unbeaten runs for the 6th wicket.
Paine did his best as did his bowlers, who tried everything from short balls, to yorkers to reverse swing. Ashwin and Vihari copped a few blows as well, but stayed put, as a frustrated Australia team tried every tactic, including gestures and verbal volleys to disturb their concentration.
However, the duo stayed put and continued to block and block, until Tim Paine decided it was enough with one over to go of the mandatory period. His bowlers were tired and exhausted as India batted a total of 131 overs to earn a famous draw at Sydney. Josh Hazlewood picked 2/39 in 26 overs, while Nathan Lyon bowled 46 overs for 2/114; Pat Cummins picked one wicket as well.
The two teams will meet in the final Test at Brisbane, starting January 15, with the series 1-1.
The cricket fraternity lauded India’s famous draw and praised the resilience and spirit of Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin, who earned this amazing feat.
Here are the tweets: