Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin batted out the complete evening session on day five to last on the memorable draw against Australia in the third Test in Sydney.

A courageous and injury-wracked India pulled off a remarkable draw in a tense third Test against Australia on Monday as they survived against the host.

A two-year wait for day five-Test cricket on these strands ended on Monday when India salvaged a remarkable draw in the third Test to set up a winner-takes-all series finale at the Gabba this weekend.

In an enormous effort befitting of the rare occasion, Australia went from likely winners of the third Test to potential victims of one of the greatest Test run chases of all-time, to settle for a draw at the SCG, leaving the Border-Gavaskar series tied 1-1.

Australia seemed certain to win in the begining of Monday but India defied all odds by batting for 131 overs to reach stumps on 5-334, falls run short by 73 to win.

No team had ever bettered 288 to clinch victory in the fourth innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with Australia achieving that mark against South Africa in 2006.

But India gave it a big go, passing 288 in the final session to fray the nerves of Australian team throwing everything they had at them.

Trailing by 309 runs at the beginning of Day 5, the visitors lost Ajinkya Rahane early on to a Nathan Lyon delivery. The stand-in captain could only muster 4 runs. But Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant had good plans, counterattacking the Aussie bowlers. Pujara registered 77 runs off 205 deliveries hitting 12 fours. Meanwhile, Pant slammed 97 from 118 deliveries, which consisted of 12 fours and 3 sixes.

India has many players to thank for the result; from Rishabh Pant, who swallowed a painkiller for his arm injury before making 97, to Cheteshwar Pujara and his 205-deliveries stand for 77 runs.

That made the equation just 157 more runs required across half a day’s play but Pant, one boundary short of his third Test century, charged down the wicket to Lyon and sliced the ball to gully for the breakthrough Australian wicket.

The duo’s participation helped India stage a turnaround, and at one point looked set for an improbable win. But Pujara and Pant fell as India’s hopes faded again.

That placed the pressure to score on Pujara who also succumbed when Josh Hazlewood stepped up with the new ball, delivering a stunning delivery that straightened and clipped his off-stump to all but end India’s hopes of a shock win.

Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin, still, batted for more than 3 hours, despite the former suffering a hamstring injury.

But despite the major impairment and the losses of India’s best batsmen, he pressed on to deliver with Ravichandran Ashwin one of the most memorable rescue acts seen on these shores. He faced 161 balls for just 23 runs, refusing to budge when the easier thing would have been to call it a day.

Equally as defiant was Ashwin who defended stoutly for 128 balls to make 39 runs in a partnership that lasted almost 43 overs.

Josh Hazlewood put in a noteworthy display for Australia, registering two dismissals. Meanwhile, Lyon also scalped two wickets.

Ravichandran Ashwin:-

The atmosphere in the dressing room is electric. In Test cricket we don’t get a lot of draws, it was a really exciting last session. I just went to Pujara and told him, you sold me down the river me in both the innings. Cummins was bowling in a different league altogether. There was a bit of double bounce, so it was difficult against Cummins. I think facing Bumrah in the nets is not easy. We have bowlers who can bowl in the 150s. I have been batting well in the nets, so it was great to spend some time in the middle. Chasing 400 in Sydney was never going to be easy, as the ball was going up and down. That knock by Pant set us up. After Pujara and Pant’s wicket and with Vihari injured, it was going to be difficult to go for the win. Touring Australia is never easy so Vihari can be proud of himself. It was a knock equal to scoring a hundred. I was just telling the batting coach during the lunch break that I have never left the SCG without a fifty, this is a venue where I have done well with the bat and today’s innings is right up there.

Tim Paine | Australia captain:-

I thought we created enough chances to win the game, this one’s a tough one to swallow. Our bowlers were superb, Lyon bowled well. Just that we (especially me) didn’t hold onto our catches. Looking forward to Brisbane. We didn’t play our best in the last two games, but we were somewhat good with the bat in this Test. There were a few positives for us, our bowlers created plenty of chances. Today was a whole-hearted effort from the boys, just that things didn’t go our way. I think having two young kids (Pucovski and Green) playing Test cricket, it’s a great thing as they were sensational. I thought Green was fantastic yesterday.

Ajinkya Rahane | India captain:-

Our talk coming this morning was to show character and fight till the end. Not to think about the result. Really happy with the way we fought especially today but also throughout the game, even in the first innings when Australia were 200 for 2 and getting them all out for 338 was really good. There are few areas we can improve on but special mention to Vihari and Ashwin. The way they batted in the end and showed character was really good to see. Credit to him (Pant). We made that strategy but in the end it is all about the player executing the plan.

Steve Smith | Player of the Match:-

India fought really hard. Our bowlers kept coming and coming, did their hardest today. On day three or four, we felt that a few kept low, few that bounced a bit more. But there was not much of it today. They fought really hard. Always means a lot when you score a hundred for your country. To be able to do that here on my home ground is pretty special. Doesn’t mean a lot now as we didn’t win the game. (We’ll) move on now to Brisbane, we have a very good record there. Looking forward to playing there in a few days time. Wanted to be a little bit more aggressive at times, went up and down through the gears throughout my innings, absorbed the pressure when needed to. Not too much else, just watched the ball hard and concentrated well. Nice to spend some time.

First Test: Australia won by eight wickets

Second Test: India won by eight wickets

Third Test: Test drawn Full Scorecard

Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner

India Test squad: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, Thangarasu Natarajan


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