They didn’t run singles even when the ball trickled towards long on, they didn’t try to score runs even as the target kept getting closer, but in grinding out a resistance at the SCG on the fifth and final day of the 3rd Test, Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin earned India a draw that almost felt like a glorious win.
There were some, like politician Babul Supriyo, who thought Vihari had “murdered cricket” by not going for the win even when the runs-to-overs equation seemed achievable, but there were also some, like Harsha Bhogle who leapt to the defence of India’s bravehearts.
He has a hamstring injury, can’t run and is playing a very brave and gutsy innings for his team. https://t.co/BTb7uX5eqT
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 11, 2021
Vihari’s tour of Australia seemed to have come to an unseemly end when he injured him hamstring in the fourth innings. When Cheteshwar Pujara (77) fell soon after, India looked to be heading for a defeat. There were 40 overs left to negate, and in the pavilion were Ravindra Jadeja, who was twiddling his disclocated thumb, and the Indian tail — Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Siraj and Navdeep Saini.
Vihari stayed unbeaten on 23 off 161 balls. Ashwin stayed unbeaten on 39 off 128 balls. Their partnership was worth just over a half-century, but more importantly, their blockathon lasted 258 balls.
The Indian fourth innings lasted 131 overs, which is the most number of overs India have batted in the fourth innings of a Test since 1980.
R Ashwin had said on Sunday that India will fight with a warrior-like approach in the face of adversities.
“I personally feel with whatever has been thrown at us, we have responded in a warrior-like fashion. And we would like to continue and take the fight on tomorrow also,” Ashwin had said.
With this result, the series remains tied at 1-1, with the Gabba Test, which will start later this week, to decide the winner of the series.