Sydney: A battered and bruised India lineup survived the full fifth day as Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin put up an epic effort to force a draw in the third cricket Test against Australia and leave the series hinging on the final Test in Brisbane.
India resumed Monday at 98-2 needing a further 309 to win at the Sydney Cricket Ground and finished 73 runs short on 334-5.
The India lineup pushing for victory while an injured Rishabh Pant (97) and Cheteshwar Pujara (77) combined in a 148-run stand that put all the pressure back on Australia.
Nathan Lyon removed Pant in the last over with the old ball and Josh Hazlewood bowled Pujara to make the total 272-5, giving the hosts the edge going into the last session.
But Vihari, constrained by a hamstring strain he picked up while running through for a single, and Ashwin stonewalled together for 258 deliveries in a partnership of 62 after India switched plans and pushed for a draw rather than risk chasing an unlikely win.
Ravindra Jadeja was next on the list to bat, waiting in his protective kit in the pavilion despite his fractured thumb, but wasn't needed.
As expected, the incredible rearguard action and famous draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground led to tributes, praise and appreciation of the Indian players on Twitter by former players and experts.
We bring you some of the best reactions to India's iconic result.
'Vihari-Ashwin pull of heist'
Vihari-Ashwin pull of heist. Vihari with a career saving innings has shown his class. Losing just 3 wkts on the fifth day speaks volumes. Take a bow, champs. This is one of the top most draws technically on par with a few overseas victories #DoddaMathu #AUSvIND
— ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣೇಶ್ | Dodda Ganesh (@doddaganesha) January 11, 2021
Hats of to both @Hanumavihari and @ashwinravi99 to draw the test! A lot has to be said about vihari for his grit and determination even after being injured! This knock is as good as any hundred in test cricket! Ashwin always had the talent to be a main allrounder! #AUSvsIND — Kris Srikkanth (@KrisSrikkanth) January 11, 2021
Heartening to see the fight showed by @Hanumavihari who batted with an injury and @ashwinravi99 who showed a lot of character to draw the test match. Kudos to team India 🇮🇳 for playing tough cricket. Test cricket at its best! @bcci #INDvAUS
— Vinay Kumar R (@Vinay_Kumar_R) January 11, 2021
Am standing and applauding Vihari & Ashwin. This has been one of the most spectacular, brave and resilient partnerships I’ve had the privilege of watching 🙌 #RealSteel #AUSvIND @Hanumavihari @ashwinravi99 pic.twitter.com/7KrfrtVwxf — Gaurav Kapur (@gauravkapur) January 11, 2021
Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin's 62-run partnership won't be a part of any YouTube highlights package, but an Indian cricket fan, who understands the meaning of an honourable draw in trying circumstances, will remember it forever for the strategising and stubbornness. #INDvAUS
— Nitin Naik (@toi_nitinnayak) January 11, 2021
GRIT & DETERMINATION. VIHARI & ASHWIN.@Hanumavihari 23*(161)@ashwinravi99 39* (128) 62* Runs, 258 balls. India's Greatest Test Match Save Since Napier, 2009. pic.twitter.com/oxqLJDAkMs — Cricketopia (@CricketopiaCom) January 11, 2021
India fight on despite all injuries
The heroes of the @scg. @ashwinravi99 and @Hanumavihari. One couldn’t sit. One couldn’t run or even walk without a limp. But they showed more than enough heart to make up for it. This Test will go down as one of India’s greatest ever rearguard efforts #AUSvIND pic.twitter.com/vSfXeqaaYg
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) January 11, 2021
No Kohli No Shami No Ishant No Jadeja to bat or bowl halfway through Test Pacers combined experience of 20 Tests Incident with the crowd & Siraj Vihari batting on one leg for 4 hours Ashwin wearing bruises on his body like a badge for 3.5 hours This is epic by India. #INDvAUS — Saurabh Somani (@saurabh_42) January 11, 2021
What a test...India have shown remarkable resilience and fight to keep the series very much alive! #AUSvIND
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) January 11, 2021
This draw is as big as any win #AUSvIND
— Hemant (@hemantbuch) January 11, 2021
Amazing display of grit and determination by India. 131 overs is the longest they have batted in 40 years to save the match. Test cricket at its very best. #AusvInd — Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) January 11, 2021
— ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣೇಶ್ | Dodda Ganesh (@doddaganesha) January 11, 2021
Special praise for Cheteswar Pujara and Rishabh Pant
The MOM award for this match is probably going to Smith, but I would give it to Pujara, or if possible the entire Indian team. That was some fightback! — Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) January 11, 2021
Player of the Match to Pujara, and please emblazon his strike rate on the trophy. #AUSvIND
— Snehal Pradhan (@SnehalPradhan) January 11, 2021
Crucial and assertive contributions from Pant and Pujara shouldn’t be forgotten, positive approach early on in the innings put Australia on the back foot #AUSvsIND #CricitwithBadri — S.Badrinath (@s_badrinath) January 11, 2021
What relief. I can breathe again. India can breathe again. What a match!! A rearguard action that will go down in history books. Pujara. Pant. Vihari. Ashwin. Great character shown by everyone in that Indian dressing room.
— Ashish Magotra (@clutchplay) January 11, 2021
Hi, just your reminder that if Cheteshwar Pujara had not spent as much time batting in the first innings as he did, India would still have had a lot more overs to survive. #INDvAUS — Saurabh Somani (@saurabh_42) January 11, 2021
With AP inputs
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Tim Paine's captaincy has been questioned after he launched an ugly verbal tirade at Ravichandran Ashwin and Steve Smith was accused of foul play after appearing to scuff up batsman Rishabh Pant's guard at the crease during a tense final day at Sydney.
Amid all the adversities, India have stood strong and the grit and resilience they displayed on the final day of the Sydney Test was a testament to their mental strength and how far they have come from that Adelaide capitulation.
India started day five on 98-2 but despite losing Ajinkya Rahane in the second over, they batted out the day to finish on 334 for five - helped by Paine's three dropped catches behind the stumps.