On this day in 2021: Ashwin and Vihari’s resistance helps India draw Sydney Test

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21 is a series the Indian fans would never forget. Amongst all the exciting Tests during the Aussie summer, the third Test at Sydney is definitely one of the greatest matches to have been played in the last few years. After winning the Boxing day Test in Melbourne, the Rahane-led side went to the SCG with full confidence.

However, Steve Smith’s century in the first innings put Australia in the driver’s seat early on. India’s reply of 244, didn’t help the cause either. What followed was another dominating performance by the Paine-led side, which saw them give India a target of 406 in the fourth innings.

Although India did get to a good start with their opener Rohit Sharma scoring a fifty, a mini-collapse saw them go from 71-0 to 102-3. Post that, Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara played their natural games. While Pujara stood like a wall and held the innings from one end, the keeper-batter went all guns blazing and started hitting boundaries and sixes for fun.

Vihari and Ashwin defy Australia

As a matter of fact, at one point in time, it looked like India might even chase the total. After riding his luck for a long time, Pant was dismissed for a brilliant 97. Pujara didn’t last too long after that and was snared by Josh Hazlewood. Just when the hopes seemed to fade away, came Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin and batted with utter grit and determination.

They played for the draw and kept blocking deliveries. Despite having injured his hamstring, the Andhra Pradesh batter made sure that he remains until the end of the line. Even Ashwin, who was peppered by some fiery short balls, didn’t give away his wicket.

Thus, their efforts paid off as India ended up drawing this game. The agony for Australia reflected the performances of India’s number six batter and number seven batter. The hosts batted for 131 overs in the fourth innings, the most they have batted in the fourth innings of a Test since 1980. Thus, Vihari’s 161-ball 23 and Ashwin’s 128-ball 39 showcased temperament at its best.