Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin battled for 259 balls on the final day of the SCG Test, earning India a historic draw. The duo dead batted almost everything that was thrown at them. Vihari was struggling with a hamstring injury, whereas Ashwin was carrying a sore back. However, that did not stop the two from battling against the Australians and earning India a vital draw in the third Test match.
In a chat with bcci tv, Vihari and Ashwin relieved their memorable partnership. Here are the excerpts from their interview-
Ashwin: Like Ravi [Shastri] bhai said, the penny hasn’t dropped. Entirely I can’t explain how I am feeling. It was really, really special. In fact, both of us went numb for a while. We didn’t even celebrate towards then end because we didn’t even know what to make of it because we were so channelized in taking on one particular bowler – keep dropping it, keep blocking it, keep dead batting it. I was telling myself last night if I can keep dead batting it, like du Plessis did at Adelaide, I can give myself a good chance.
Today morning the way Rishabh [Pant] played, it made everyone hopeful that something fantastic could have been achieved. Nevertheless, I felt Puji (Pujara) and Risabh laid the foundation for us to see off the last 3 or four hours or maybe more.
Hanuma Vihari stuck around for 161 balls on Day five of the Sydney Test, in spite of carrying a hamstring injury for most part of the day.
Vihari: Batting in that (final) session was an experience for me. It’s something you can only dream of – batting on day five of a Test with the series 1-1. The satisfaction will slowly sink in we’ll realise how big an effort that was.
I was really happy that Ashwin was communicating with me as an elder brother. He felt I was a bit loose and he was telling me that let’s focus on it one over at a time and take it as deep as possible. It is really special.
Ashwin praised Vihari’s effort to grind out a draw by digging deep.
Ashwin: For us, runs weren’t important for us in that partnership, it was more about batting time. The communication was – whenever we got comfortable against a certain bowler in a certain spell – we wanted to hang on to that. With his hamstring injury and with my back as well, we didn’t want to keep chopping and changing, playing a shot or two. We really hung in tight, especially in the last 4-5 overs, we knew we were close so we started to slip up a little. So we wanted to rotate strike and play up each other’s end. Vihari’s effort was outstanding especially how he was able to grind and dig deep.
Ashwin: When I went in to bat, Nathan Lyon was bowling. In the first 3-4 balls, when I stretched my back, (the pain) was shooting through from my lower back to the neck. I told Vihari that I shouldn’t have played that shot over the top because it completely tweaked it out. And then if I didn’t play him for an over, my back of getting stiff again. So I told him that I’ll keep playing because if I don’t, my back was going stiff. I had to put the chest guard on, because in the middle of a Pat Cummins spell we found ourselves in the eye of the storm. There was a bit of luck for us but I think we got through pretty well.
Hanuma Vihari believes India could have won the Test if not for his injury, but is happy with the result.
Vihari: Getting a draw out of it was a fabulous result for us. If I wasn’t injured and Puji was there for some more time, we would have had a different result. It could have been a fabulous win. Nonetheless, taking out 10 points out of this game is a massive result for us.