Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne has heaped praise on the Indian cricket team for their efforts after they brilliantly battled out on Day 5 to draw the third Pink Test in Sydney on Monday (January 11), saying he respects the way the tourists played and “show heart because they're playing for their country.”
Beginning play at 2-98 with 309 runs still away from their target, India looked to suffer another big defeat on the Australia tour after Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed in the second over, but good innings from Cheteshwar Pujara (77 of 205 runs) and then a brilliant knock from Rishabh Pant (97 off 118 balls) kept the tourists' hopes alive in the Pink Test in Sydney.
Later, Hanuma Vihari (23* off 161 balls) and R Ashwin (39* off 128 balls) batted out for more than 2.30 hours to save the third Test for India as the Pink Test ended in a draw on Monday with the four-Test series still tied at 1-1 and Australia and India will fight for the trophy in Brisbane in the final Test from January 15.
Labuschagne told cricket.com.au: “A day five SCG wicket usually has a little more rough, a little bit more inconsistent bounce, but when a team blocks out 131 overs, that's fair play to them. They batted well, they grinded well, and I think we couldn't have changed much.”
He added, “You have respect for the opposition and you respect the way they play. It's Test cricket. No one that's playing Test cricket just lets it go. They all show heart because they're playing for their country.”
Meanwhile, the right-hander believes that Australia played really well in the third Test but felt the hosts lacked few runs in the first innings against India at Sydney Cricket Ground and now they are heading to The Gabba aiming to win the final Test and win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India.
The 26-year-old continued, “We played really well. Probably that first inning we could've probably got a few more runs, but apart from that, it was a really good game for us. We played a (drawn) Test match today but it's a Test series and we're here to win.”
Labuschagne signed off by saying, “Regardless of the result of this game, if we won or it was a draw, we had to go to the Gabba and win. So nothing's changed for us – it's a matter of changing our focus and making sure we take them down at the Gabba.”