3rd Test: Gutsy Vihari-Ashwin Grind Out Sensational Draw at SCG
Updates from Day 5 of the India vs Australia SCG Test.
In a display of immense grit and determination despite plenty of pain, India’s Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin batted for more than 250 deliveries against Australia in the final couple of hours of the final day of the Sydney Test to come away with a sensational draw.
After Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara lost their wickets during the second session, Vihari and Ashwin kept Australia at bay.
Vihari in fact got injured while taking run earlier in the innings and his hamstring is visibly restricting his movement. Ashwin also took a knock to his ribcage off the bowling of Pat Cummins, but the duo are doing their bit to frustrate Australia.
The two teams shook hands one over before the end of play.
Earlier today, Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara’s big partnership, that had ignited hopes of an Indian victory, ended with Pant getting caught on 97. Nathan Lyon was the bowler, with the wicket coming in the second last over before Australia were to take the new ball.
Pant had played a characteristic innings this morning, having added 148 runs for the third wicket with Pujara, after coming into bat in the second over of the day. The score read 250/4 at the fall of his wicket.
Pujara then collaborated with Hanuma Vihari to keep alive India’s hopes in the match with the pair adding 22 runs.
The 32-year-old also reached a personal milestone in the 76th over when he smashed a boundary against off-spinner Nathan Lyon to complete his 6,000 runs in the longest format of the game. Having taken 134 innings to reach the landmark, Pujara became the sixth-fastest among Indian batsmen after Sunil Gavaskar (117), Virat Kohli (119), Sachin Tendulkar (120), Virender Sehwag (123) and Rahul Dravid (125) to reach the milestone.
The celebrations though could not last very long as Josh Hazlewood ended Pujara’s innings, castling him for the first time this series.
Pujara out on 77 with India’s score reading 272/5.
India were dealt a big blow early on Day 5 when skipper and overnight batsman Ajinkya Rahane lost his wicket in the second over. Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara were the two batters at the crease at Stumps on Day 4 after India lost openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma in the last half hour of play on Sunday. The score was 98/2 at Stumps with India needing 309 runs to win.
Aussie skipper Tim Paine handed the ball to spinner Nathan Lyon after Cummins opened the day and he delivered, with Matthew Wade taking the catch at short leg. Rahane out on 4.
Pant had in fact injured his elbow while batting in the first innings and did not take the field on Sunday but with India needing more than 300 runs on Day 5 to win the Test, the 23-year-old came out to bat and looked solid at the crease, scoring his third Test half century.
While Pujara held up one end of the innings, Pant scored at a brisk pace smashing Nathan Lyon for back-to-back sixes before taking a single to reach his half century.
His innings though was not without a few reprieves from the Aussies as skipper and wicket-keeper Tim Paine dropped Pant twice on Monday- while he was batting on 3, and on 56. Both off Nathan Lyon’s bowling.
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