SYDNEY: After India pulled off a ‘fabulous result’ at the Sydney Cricket Ground against Australia, India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin credited Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant for laying the foundation and said the wicket-keeper batsman’s innings even made them hopeful of a different outcome.
Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari batted out 258 balls to help India walk away with an epic draw against Australia and head into the final Test at the Gabba, with the series level at 1-1. Batting out 2.5 hours with a fierce home team throwing everything it had up its sleeves is no mean feat.
But the Indian duo of Vihari and R Ashwin stood their ground and managed to do just that. Batting out 131 overs — the most India have batted in the fourth innings of a Test since 1980 — showed exactly what Ashwin meant when he spoke about playing like true warriors at the end of the fourth day’s play at the SCG.
Ashwin even admitted that both of them even went “numb and blank” after the match concluded.
“Entirely, I cannot explain how I am feeling but I think it was really, really special. In fact, both of us went numb and blank for a while, we did not celebrate towards the end because we did not know what to make of it. We were so channelised for taking on certain bowlers and kept blocking. Last night, when I went to bed with a sore back, I was just telling myself that ‘if I can just keep dead batting like how Faf du Plessis did in Adelaide, I can give myself a good chance’,” Ashwin said in a video posted by BCCI.
WATCH – @ashwinravi99 & @Hanumavihari relive #TeamIndia’s valiant fightback.Playing through pain, battling bruise… https://t.co/H0vioAZuSi
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1610368909000
“Today morning the way Rishabh Pant played, it made everybody hopeful of something that was fantastic that could have been achieved but nevertheless I feel Rishabh and Pujara laid the foundation for us to see through the last two-and-a-half-hour,” he added.
Vihari said the satisfaction from this “fabulous result” will slowly sink in, adding that Ashwin communicated like an elder brother on the field.
“That session was a real experience for me. It was something that you can only dream of, batting on day five. The series is 1-1 and if you can do it for the team, the satisfaction, I think it will slowly sink and then we will realise how big of an effort that was. Was really happy like how Ash, like an elder brother, was communicating and telling me let’s focus one ball at a time and take it as deep as possible. The communication that we had was really special,” he said.
Vihari further stated: “Getting a draw out of it was a fabulous result for us. I feel if I was not injured and Puji would have been there for some more time, we would have had a different result, maybe a fabulous win but nonetheless, I feel 10 points out of this is a massive result for us.”