India off-spinner R Ashwin is no mug with the bat and his Test record shows the same as well. In 74 Test matches, apart from taking 377 wickets, Ashwin has also scored 2467 runs with 4 centuries and 11 half-centuries to his name.
However, his most amazing knock came in the recently concluded third Test in SCG against Australia, where he and Hanuma Vihari batted out more than 43 overs together, to earn a brilliant draw for the Indian team, which keeps them alive going into the fourth and final Test in Gabba, Brisbane.
While Vihari batted for 161 balls for his 23*, most of them on one leg, after hurting his hamstring early in the innings; R Ashwin made 39* in 128 balls, hitting 7 fours in the process. Their partnership of 62* runs came off 256 balls, consuming enough time to earn India a draw.
Ashwin was also hit in the ribs by a short ball, leading to him wearing a chest guard later on. However, his wife Prithi revealed something more serious had happened the night before, which should give a new perspective to Ashwin’s fighting innings.
On Twitter, Prithi Ashwin revealed that her husband had woken up with a tweaked back and the pain was so intense, that he couldn’t even bend down to tie his shoelaces. But he suffered the pain for 128 minutes in the middle, fighting to save the Indian team.
“The man went to bed last night with a terrible back tweak and in unbelievable pain. He could not stand up straight when he woke up this morning. Could not bend down to tie his shoelaces. I am amazed at what @ashwinravi99 pulled off today,” Prithi tweeted.
She also put a light-hearted comment afterward saying, “Who will help me pack now #thatthatmanthatthatproblem”
To This Ashwin thanked her for being there for him when he was in pain and tweeted, “Instant tears!! Thanks for being there with me through all this”
India was chasing 407 to win and started day five on 98/2. Pujara (77) and Rishabh Pant (97) gave India hopes of an unlikely win, but their wickets led to the injured Vihari and Ashwin shutting shops for the day and batted for a draw, knowing that an injured Ravindra Jadeja and fast bowlers were left to come.
India finished on 334/5, batting 131 overs to draw the match and the series stays 1-1, with the fourth Test to be played in Brisbane from January 15 onwards.