India’s stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane must be the most content person on the earth after the Indian team managed to pull a draw against Australia. Chasing a stiff total of 407 runs, on what seemed unfathomable by the injury-plagued Indian team, the visitors managed to put up a decent start before losing two wickets under 100 runs.
Cheteshwar Pujara scored 77 runs under a lot of pressure but his efforts to put India in the game was reckoned. In fact, after Pujara fell for 77 runs, it was wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant who scored a quickfire 97 runs and put India on a driver’s seat.
Unfortunately, Pant, who was batting despite an elbow injury, missed his well-deserved century by just three runs. Since then Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari took on themselves to soak in all the pressure and bat for over 2.5 hours and 100+ overs to pull a draw.
After the match, Ajinkya Rahane praised the duo for not playing any reckless shot and losing the guard in the most challenging part of the game.
“This is as good as winning a Test match when you come abroad and play a match like this, it was really special. Credit to Ashwin and Vihari for the way they batted, Pujara, Rohit, Pant everyone chipped into the team’s cause. But credit to Vihari and Ashwin for batting 2.5 hours in the end,” Rahane told ANI.
“We knew we had to take it one session at a time, we were not thinking about our target. Pujara and Pant batted well for us, but once they got out, unfortunately, Vihari had the injury and because of that, he had to play with a certain approach. Credit to all the guys for the way we played and this feels as good as a win,” he added.
While Ashwin made sure of finding the boundaries on various occasions, Hanuma Vihari took the onus of tiring the Australian bowlers with his knock of 23 runs off 161 balls. He batted along despite having tweaks in his hamstring and stitched a 62-run partnership with Ashwin.
The duo also showed true team-spirit towards their injured team-mate Ravindra Jadeja who was padded up to bat with a severe thumb injury by not giving away their wickets in the final two sessions.