In a rip-roaring, continuously oscillating encounter, Hanuma Vihari, and Ravichandran Ashwin batted for 43.1 overs to pull off a Herculean stalemate from the sheer jaws of defeat.
After a first-innings meltdown for India with Shubmam Gill outscoring others, India was left to chase a monumental total of 409 runs in the fourth innings. Gill and Rohit Sharma got their respective starts but were knocked over in quick succession, imbuing Indian hearts with the trepidation of defeat. Rahane and Pujara were shouldered with the onus of ushering India out of this ineluctable quagmire.
Much to the woes of the Indian cricket team, Day 3 had a shocking start as Rahane was dismissed for a paltry 4 runs. This is when the miracle happened with Rishabh Pant drafting one of the best innings of his life. Instead of waiting in the middle, he took to his natural game, and at one point in time, it felt as if India will be achieving the impossible.
However, Pant was removed for 97 while Pujara was castled for 77. With more than 40 overs remaining and Jadeja injured, it was almost a definite that Australia was walking away with a 2-1 lead. However, the partners for the 6th-wicket stand, Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin had absolutely contrasting plans for their counterparts.
They started walking on eggshells and trading every single delivery either for a dot or a single at the most. To make matters worse for the Indians, Hanuma Vihari tore his hamstring. As expected that he would have trudged back to the pavilion on the shoulders of his team-mates, he stunned everyone by hanging in there with the tremendous amount of pain overwhelming him.
Even Ashwin got hit, but he chose to stay in the middle too. While playing their herculean essay of bravado, there was a time when Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazelwood was breathing fire with reverse-swing.
— Gnanashekar (@Gnanashekar) January 11, 2021
After a long time, Ashwin emerged as the batter inside of him and shared his mind with Vihari in Tamil. The mic caught him saying that no matter wherever he bowls, the ball is going to come straight at your bat.
— Sanjeev MSDIAN (@Sanjeev25840069) January 11, 2021
This was a reference to the corridor of uncertainty just outside the off-stump which has proven to be a long-standing sepulchre for countless batsmen. Despite nicking one of the deliveries that seemed to drift away, Tim Paine’s adrenaline overdrive made him dive for it, and given the fact that it was a catch for the first slip, he couldn’t keep it pouched, spilling a golden opportunity. However, the advice from Ashwin worked wonders for a brazen Vihari who ignored the pain and kept India afloat in the series.