India Vs Australia – 3rd Test: Vihari, Ashwin defy Australia to earn remarkable draw
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India Vs Australia – 3rd Test: Vihari, Ashwin defy Australia to earn remarkable draw

January 12, 2021

A courageous and injury-wracked India pulled off a remarkable draw in a tense third Test against Australia yesterday as they survived against the hosts’ much-vaunted bowling attack to take the series into a decider. They resumed day five at 98/2, needing a further 309 runs after being set a huge 407 to win when Australia declared their second innings at tea Sunday on 312 for six.

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

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

The visitors abandoned any hope of victory but they bravely clung on for the draw with Hanuma Vihari, nursing a hamstring injury, surviving 161 balls for just 23 runs and Ravichandran Ashwin, who had treatment on his ribs, making 39.

They steered India to 334 for five at the close, 73 runs adrift. Their resistance was built on the back of an explosive 97 from Rishabh Pant and a typically gritty 77 from Cheteshwar Pujara, who passed 6,000 Test runs, but also helped by wicketkeeper Tim Paine dropping three catches.

It culminated an absorbing Test marked by some high quality batting, led by Steve Smith’s 131 and Pant’s 97, and razor-sharp fielding.

But it will also be remembered for allegations India were racially abused by sections of the Sydney Cricket Ground crowd, with investigations underway and tough action promised against anyone at fault.

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After Australia won the first Test in Adelaide by eight wickets then India bounced back in Melbourne by the same margin, the series now heads to Brisbane later this week (Jan. 15 to 19) for the final chapter.

It will be a depleted India again at the Gabba, with fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav and batsmen K.L. Rahul out injured and question marks over all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, who dislocated his thumb in Sydney.

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