India’s great escape: Tourists bat through a mammoth 131 overs in the fourth innings in Sydney to force unlikely draw with Australia and take thrilling series to a decider at The Gabba
- Third Test between Australia and India ended in an unlikely draw on Monday
- India’s defiant batsman saw off 131 overs to leave series poised at 1-1
- Deciding Test of thrilling series gets underway on Friday at the Gabba, Brisbane
- Hanuma Vihari and Ravi Ashwin withstood a whole session to guide India home
- Earlier, Rishabh Pant hit 97 and Cheteshwar Pujara scored 77 to deny Australia
India’s batsmen pulled off a great escape in Sydney to take their thrilling series with Australia to a deciding fourth Test later this week.
Australia needed eight wickets on the final day to claim victory but could manage only three as Rishabh Pant hit 97 off 118 balls and Cheteshwar Pujara dug in with 77.
Hanuma Vihari and Ravi Ashwin guided India over the line as Australia’s bowlers failed to take any wickets in the evening session at the SCG, thanks in large part to captain Tim Paine dropping three catches.
Ravichandran Ashwin (left) and Hanuma Vihari batted India to an improbable draw at the SCG
The pair survived all of the evening session to bat India to a highly unlikely draw on Monday
Australia’s Nathan Lyon appeals unsuccessfully for Vihari’s dismissal on the fifth day
Mitchell Starc sums up a day of frustration for Australia as they only took three wickets
Australia captain Tim Paine congratulates not out batsman Ravi Ashwin at stumps
The 131 overs batted is the most India have got through in the fourth innings of a Test match since 1980.
It means the series is delicately-poised at 1-1 entering Friday’s final Test in Brisbane.
India started the day on 98 for two, requiring a further 309 to claim a highly unlikely victory. But in the end they finished only 73 short on 334 for five.
However, their tail was left threadbare by injuries with Ravindra Jadeja waiting in the pavilion in protective kit despite his fractured thumb.
But he wasn’t required as Vihari, himself hampered by a hamstring strain picked up while running through for a single, and Ashwin stonewalled an increasingly ragged Australian bowling attack for 258 deliveries.
Australia crowd around Ashwin as Lyon bowls as they searched in vain for further wickets
Matthew Wade sums up a day of frustration for the hosts as they failed to take a series lead
Earlier, Pant (97) and Pujara (77) had combined for a 148-run stand that piled the pressure back on Australia.
Nathan Lyon removed Pant in the last over with the old ball and when Josh Hazlewood bowled Pujara to make the total 272 for five entering the final session, it appeared Australia could still do it.
There were plenty of nervy moments for Ashwin and Vihari. The former was given out but successfully over turned the caught behind decision.
He was also hit on the body by a short ball and survived a dropped catch to finish unbeaten on 39 from 128 balls.
Australia’s captain Tim Paine reacts after putting down a catch off Vihari in the last session
Paine celebrates the removal of Rishabt Pant for 97 as Australia make a key breakthrough
Vihari faced 161 balls for his unbeaten 23, gaining his own late reprieve when he edged Mitchell Starc and Paine put down the catch behind the stumps.
In all, Australia put down four catches in India’s second innings in an out-of-character performance.
Australia haven’t lost a test at the Gabba since 1988 and India are dogged by injuries but will take confidence from this impressive effort of defiance.
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