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Key stats from India's historic draw against Australia in Sydney Test

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A fabled display from the likes of Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin salvaged a hard-fought draw for the Indian cricket team in the third Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against Australia in Sydney.

After ending Day 4 at 98/2, India made a stunning comeback through Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant as the duo took India from 102/3 to 250/4. Although Pant missed out on his ton and Pujara was dismissed by Josh Hazlewood, the batsmen following them had enough fuel in their tanks to last the entire Day 5.

The game swung in Australia’s way, especially after the tea break. The home team launched a barrage of bouncers which, without a shadow of a doubt, took Ashwin to the cleaners. The Indian off-spinner, however, showed grit while an injured Vihari remained adamant at the other end to forge an unbeaten 62-run partnership off 259 balls to snatch the game right from the death.

A historic game as this was bound to produce some interesting numbers, and here we take a look at few statistics:

Steve Smith: A bane for India

After a few disappointing outings in the first two Tests, former captain Steve Smith was back among runs in Sydney, tallying 212, including a ton and a half-century. It was Smith’s 27th Test century, and a whopping eight of them have come against India which is the joint-most Test tons against India.

Most Test tons vs IND

Player

Mat

Inns

NO

Runs

Ave

100

50

GS Sobers (WI)

18

30

7

1920

83.47

8

7

SPD Smith (AUS)

13

26

4

1651

75.04

8

4

RT Ponting (AUS)

29

51

4

2555

54.36

8

12

IVA Richards (WI)

28

41

3

1927

50.71

8

7

Smith is now the fourth Australian to score two fifty-plus scores in the same Test against India on three or more times, with only Ricky Ponting managing it more (four) times. A further bifurcation in Smith’s figures reveals that he has scored a whopping 27.79% of his Test runs in Australia against India (991/3566).

Smith partnered with Marnus Labuschagne to play two 100+ runs stands in the third Test. The duo now has five century-run stands in 12 innings since 2019, which is the most by any pair during this time.

Most century stands by a pair in Tests since 2019

Partners

Inns

NO

Runs

Ave

100

50

M Labuschagne, SPD Smith (AUS)

12

0

820

68.33

5

2

RJ Burns, JE Root (ENG)

10

0

710

71.00

4

1

M Labuschagne, DA Warner (AUS)

9

0

892

99.11

4

2

Cheteshwar Pujara: Australia’s eternal nemesis

While the likes of Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin were rightly applauded for their heroic efforts, one cannot underestimate the contribution made by Cheteshwar Pujara. The top-order batsman scored 127 runs in the Sydney Test and faced 205 balls alone in the second innings. Overall, Pujara played 381 balls in the game, which is the fourth most for him in a Test match.

Most balls faced by Pujara in a Test match

Bat1

Bat2

Runs

BF

Opposition

Ground

Start Date

202

-

202

525

v Australia

Ranchi

16-Mar-17

123

71

194

450

v Australia

Adelaide

06-Dec-18

206*

41*

247

440

v England

Ahmedabad

15-Nov-12

50

77

127

381

v Australia

Sydney

07-Jan-21

193

-

193

373

v Australia

Sydney

03-Jan-19

Pujara scored half-centuries in both the innings of the match, and both of them are two of this slowest fifties in terms of balls faced.

  • 174 balls vs AUS, 1st Innings, Sydney,2021
  • 173 balls vs SA, Johannesburg, 2018
  • 170 balls vs AUS, 2nd innings, Sydney, 2021

Note that this is only the fifth instance where he has managed a fifty-plus score in both the innings of the Tests; three of such instances have come against the Aussies.

Since 2018, Pujara has accumulated 711 runs in Australia, which is the fourth-best return by any batsman with a minimum of 500 Down Under. The 32-year-old has scored at an average of 54.69 and has scored three half-centuries and as many tons.

India’s hard-fought effort

India were put on to chase a mammoth target of 407 runs across four sessions. While many thought it would be an easy win for Australia, the Indian batsmen showed grit to draw the contest by playing a whopping 131 overs. This is the fourth-most overs (first in Australia) India have played in the fourth innings of a drawn Test.

Overall, in Australia, the 131 overs India played is the second-most overs a team has played in the 4th innings of a Test.

Most overs batted by a team to draw a Test in AUS in this century

Team

Score

Overs

Result

Opposition

Ground

Start Date

South Africa

248/8

148

draw

v Australia

Adelaide

22 November 2012

India

334/5

131

draw

v Australia

Sydney

07 January 2021

South Africa

287/5

126

draw

v Australia

Perth

16 December 2005

Australia

381/7

110

draw

v New Zealand

Perth

30 November 2001

Australia

357/6

94

draw

v India

Sydney

02 January 2004

Vihari and Ashwin’s effort will go down as one of the toughest defences by the Indian batsmen in away conditions. Once Pujara was dismissed, Australia had the game in the bag. A couple of fielding errors, however, gave the duo a lifeline, and they made no mistake in pouncing on the opportunity. Their partnership of 62 runs of 259 balls is the second-best sixth-wicket stand in the fourth innings for India in an away Test.

Most balls faced by a 6th wicket stand in the 4th innings of the Test for IND in away Tests

Partners

Runs

Balls

Opposition

Ground

Start Date

RR Pant, KL Rahul

204

267

v England

The Oval

07 September 2018

R Ashwin, GH Vihari

62*

259

v Australia

Sydney

07 January 2021

MS Dhoni, VVS Laxman

86

172

v England

Lord's

19 July 2007

MS Dhoni, SK Raina

60

110

v England

Lord's

21 July 2011

VVS Laxman, SK Raina

87*

102

v Sri Lanka

Colombo (PSS)

03 August 2010

On a personal note, Vihari, who scored an unbeaten 23, faced a whopping 161 balls despite being injured and this is the third most number of balls India’s #6 batsman has faced in the fourth innings of an away Test.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Saeed Khan

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