‘Both of us went numb & blank for a while’, Ashwin explains how he and Vihari fought against Aussies to save Sydney Test

After the game ended, Ashwin revealed that they didn’t celebrate the moment as they had no idea ‘what to make out of it’.
R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari congratulating each other after saving the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground(Twitter)
R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari congratulating each other after saving the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground(Twitter)
Updated on Jan 12, 2021 05:20 PM IST
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Byhindustantimes.com

Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari – the two superheroes of the third Test against Australia who helped India pull off a historic draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday. Defying their injuries, the duo stood strong against the Aussies who tried all their tricks to nullify the Indian batting.

Ashwin came in to bat with a sore back while Vihari injured his hamstring and faced difficulty while running between the wickets. Both of them were aware of their physical restrictions but didn’t lose hope and fought till the end.

After the game ended, Ashwin revealed that they didn’t celebrate the moment as they had no idea ‘what to make out of it’.

“With his hamstring and my (sore) back, we did not want to lose concentration and play a (bad) shot. In the last four-five overs we knew we were close and we started to slip a bit. So, we wanted to rotate the strike and play each other's end,” Ashwin said in a ‘bcci.tv’ interview.

“We did not even celebrate towards the end because we did not know what to make out of it. Because we were so channelised in taking on a certain particular bowler and keep blocking,” he added.

Ashwin, who remained unbeaten on 39 off 128 balls, recalled the innings of former South African captain Faf du Plessis who batted for more than one day to save a Test match against Australia in 2012. While chasing 430 in the fourth innings, the Protea batter faced 376 balls and scored an unbeaten 110 in Adelaide.

“If you talk about premonitions, from when I went to bed last night with a sore back I was telling myself that if I keep dead batting everything, how (Faf) du Plessis did at Adelaide, I can give myself a good chance," Ashwin said.

Vihari, who also featured in the video, added that he could have guided India to victory had he not been injured and Cheteshwar Pujara (77) stayed a bit longer.

“Getting a draw was a fabulous result. I feel if I was not injured and Pujara stayed some more time it could have been a different result, maybe it would have been a fabulous win,” he said.

On communicating with Vihari all through their partnership, Ashwin said, “Runs were not important in that situation. It was more about batting time. Whenever we are comfortable with a particular bowler or certain spell we wanted to hang on.”

Vihari said the enormity of what he and Ashwin achieved is sinking in very slowly for him.

“It was something you can only dream of, batting on day five of a Test match. The satisfaction of doing that is slowly sinking in and realise how big that was. Whenever he felt I was a bit loose (while playing shots), he told me to let us focus and take as deep as possible,” Vihari said.

(With PTI inputs)

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Friday, December 03, 2021