Australian batsman, Steve Smith, praised India’s effort on Day 5 of the Sydney Test as Ajinkya Rahane’s men showcased their heroics in the final session to push the match to draw.
Team India started day 5 on a disastrous note as skipper, Ajinkya Rahane, was dismissed in the second over and it seemed like the hosts will have their way and will take an inaccessible lead of 2-1 in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series.
But the visitors were stunned by a fiery show from Rishabh Pant who came ahead of Hanuma Vihari and stitched a 148-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara to reignite India’s hopes of a win.
But after Pant was dismissed for 97 and Pujara fell for 77, India had a tough task in front of them to get 135 more runs with an injured Vihari and Ashwin in the middle. The duo showed character and played 40 plus overs, stitching a 62-run unbeaten stand as India posted 334/5 at stumps on Day 5 to draw the third Test match at SCG.
Steve Smith lauded the character shown by Ajinkya Rahane’s men besides also heaping praise on his bowling attack for the way they persisted on what he termed as a fifth-day track that did not have much for the bowlers.
"India fought really hard. Our bowlers kept coming and coming, did their hardest today. On day three or four, we felt that a few kept low, few that bounced a bit more. But there was not much of it today. They fought really hard.” Steve Smith said at the post-match conference.
Steve Smith, who has adjudged the Player of the Match, for his knocks of 131 and 81, said it was a special feeling for him to get back in form on his home ground but added that it does not matter since hosts were not able to get the job done on the final day.
“Always means a lot when you score a hundred for your country. To be able to do that here on my home ground is pretty special. Doesn't mean a lot now as we didn't win the game." said Steve Smith.
The two teams will now meet in Brisbane for the series decider. Speaking on the upcoming encounter, Smith said: "We’ll move on now to Brisbane, we have a very good record there. Looking forward to playing there in a few day's time."
India batted for 131 overs in the fourth innings while chasing 407, making it only the fourth time since 1990. The last time when India batted 100+ overs in the fourth innings was in the 2002 Lord's Test.