Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-21, 3rd Test: Ashwin-Vihari fight it out as India settles for a draw
First Published Jan 11, 2021, 7:26 AM IST
India and Australia are engaged in a tough four-Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Down Under. The series is currently tied 1-1 after three Tests, while it all heated up in the third Test, at the Sydney Cricket Ground. India was the better team, playing smart cricket at the end.
India came up with a frustrating, but smart performance, as it churned out a draw on Day 5 of the third Test against Australia, for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), on Monday. The pair of Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin became a pain for the Australian bowlers, who tried hard, but to no avail, to get rid of them or the final five wickets, as the series remains locked at 1-1.
Winning the toss, Australia elected to bat and posted 338 in the first innings, while India was bundled out for 244, handing Australia a 94-run lead. The host bettered it in the second innings, as India was set a target of 407.
Resuming at the overnight score of 98/2, Pujara and skipper Ajinkya Rahane took charge. However, the very second over of the day saw the skipper falling for mere four to off-spinner, Nathan Lyon, after being caught by Matthew Wade.
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who did not take the field on Day 4 owing to the elbow injury he suffered in the first innings, came out with a mission. Interestingly, he took on Lyon and smashed him all over the park, scoring his third Test half-century in the process.
Some close chances went by, but Pant seemed to be in robust control of his innings. Furthermore, he was duly supported by Pujara, as the pair was unbeaten on a 104-run stand for the fourth wicket, while India was 201 runs behind, as the lunch break kicked in.
As the pair resumed its innings at 206/3, it continued with the same intensity at the post-lunch session. It was at the score of 250 when Pant fell for 97, as he looked to go big for the century while being caught by Pat Cummins at point of Lyon.
Meanwhile, Pujara switched to the counter-attacking mode, but fell for 77, 22 runs later, as Josh Hazlewood cleaned him up. Since then, the pair of Vihari and Ashwin who took control, as India was 127 runs behind at the tea break, while the former had some hamstring concerns.
The post-tea session saw the pair come out with the intent of just playing one and earn a draw. Although Australia refused to give up, luck did not favour them.
While the pair continued to frustrate the Australians with their seemingly impenetrable defence, a few close calls did not go the latter's way. Also, a couple of dropped catches made things worse for the host, while skipper, Tim Paine dropped as many as three in the day, as it was enough for the Indians to earn a draw.
Among the Australians, three bowlers tasted success in the innings, with Hazlewood and Lyon claiming a couple. While six bowlers were utilised, they did grind it until the end, but to no avail, as the pair of Ashwin-Vihari refused to budge.
Brief scores: Australia 338 and 312/6 dec (Labuschagne 73, Smith 81, Green 84; Saini 2/54, Ashwin 2/95) drew India 244 and 334/5 (Rohit 52, Pant 97, Pujara 77; Hazlewood 1/20).
How many players do you prefer playing with?