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R Ashwin and Hanuma Viharis epic stand seals remarkable SCG draw

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The pair resisted for 42.four overs, after Pujara and Pant had lifted India with a century partnership

Australia 338 and 312 for six dec drew with India 244 and 334 for five (Pant 97, Pujara 77, Sharma 52, Ashwin 39*, Vihari 23*, Hazlewood 2-39)

A bruised and battered India line-up could not run between the wickets for greater than a session. They’d a participant with a fractured thumb ready to bat subsequent. They had been with out their unique captain and finest batsman. They copped one blow after one other off short-pitched bowling, towards probably the greatest bowling assaults. And but, towards all odds, India produced some of the dramatic shows of affected person batting and exemplary preventing spirit to tug off a draw that hardly anybody noticed coming when the fifth day began.

With 97 overs to outlive within the day and eight wickets in hand, India scraped by below immense strain led by the partnership between Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin that lasted 42.four overs for 62 runs, to maintain the sequence degree on 1-1.

Though Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara had arrange India’s struggle early within the day with a century stand that even gave the workforce an opportunity of a win initially, the best reward will likely be stored for Vihari and Ashwin for the character they confirmed. The 2 got here collectively towards the second new ball when there have been greater than 40 overs left within the day, an under-pressure Vihari had already damage his hamstring, and Ashwin was welcomed by a barrage of brief balls that dented his physique.

The 2 made the Australia bowlers toil below solar with a blockathon to attract some frustrations from the hosts in the direction of the top of the day. Nathan Lyon bowled 46 relentless overs, Pat Cummins pounded the pitch all through the day and Josh Hazlewood discovered reverse swing, however solely to see an unfazed batting pair that defended virtually the whole lot that got here their approach. Unable to run, Vihari completed unbeaten on 23 off 161 after batting for just below three hours, and Ashwin’s vigil noticed him rating 39 runs for his 128-ball keep. Australia may also rue the 4 catches they dropped on the day, three of them by captain Tim Paine that included two off Pant and one off Vihari on the finish of the day, and one by substitute fielder Sean Abbott, off Ashwin.

Given Australia’s full-strength assault, all of it seemed misplaced for India when Ashwin joined Vihari within the 89th over with greater than a session left to outlive. However their decided strategy wasn’t deterred both by the difficult activity at hand, the opposition, the accidents, or the chatter across the stumps. Initially Ashwin was on the receiving finish of hostile bowling when Cummins began the final session with bouncers, a method additionally utilized by Hazlewood. Ashwin took blows on his arms, shoulders, chest and stomach, and was even given out caught behind the second ball after tea earlier than replays confirmed there was no glove or bat. Ashwin was additionally fortunate his edges fell secure and when he attacked a brief ball with a uncommon pull on 15, Abbott dropped him at sq. leg. The quick respite Ashwin obtained was when Lyon changed Hazlewood on the different finish.

Unable to alter strike, each Ashwin and Vihari put a prize on their wicket like by no means earlier than towards correct bowling in the direction of the stumps that made them play virtually the whole lot with as many as 5 fielders across the bat at occasions.

Ultimately, Cummins was additionally changed within the assault however Mitchell Starc could not maintain the identical form of strain and Ashwin began to gather boundaries off Lyon. When 24 overs had been remaining, Ashwin had reached 24 with 4 fours, however Vihari was nonetheless on 6 off 82 balls because the duo performed out six maidens in a row.

With greater than 40 overs below his belt, Lyon began the ultimate hour and now each batsmen began to gather runs a bit extra freely. Vihari reached double-figures with two fours in an over off Cummins solely to be dropped two overs later off Starc across the wicket by Paine, who leaped to his proper and acquired a glove for the skin edge however could not maintain on. 5 extra maidens adopted in a row that noticed some edges fall brief, some land extensive, and as the whole lot went India’s approach, the 2 groups shook arms with an over to spare.

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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