Contrasting fifties from Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara, followed by an exemplary display of grit and determination by Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin helped the Indian cricket team pull off a draw for the ages against Australia in the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Just when most thought that India were down and out, the Ajinkya Rahane-led side showed their true character. Despite having their backs on the wall for the majority of the Sydney Test, the visitors kept the Australians at bay on the fifth day and managed to save the third Test. 

Starting Day 5 on 98/2 and needing another 309 runs to script a historic win, Team India skipper Rahane fell just in the second over of the day. That is when most thought that Team India would succumb to the pressure. But Rishabh Pant had other plans. The southpaw, who was promoted up the order, swung the game in the visitors' favour. He initially spent some time in the middle but took Nathan Lyon to the cleaners once he got his eye in. Pant went on to make 97 off just 118 balls consisting of 3 sixes and 12 fours. That knock brought his team back in the game and also made India believe that they can go all the way and win it. An archetypal Rishabh Pant with a classic, ‘Live by the sword, die by the sword.’ Remember, Pant was hit on the elbow in the first innings and couldn’t keep wickets after that.

Once the wicketkeeper-batsman was dismissed, Pujara too followed suit. Since Ravindra Jadeja too had a broken thumb, Ashwin walked out to face the Australian attack. He along with Vihari faced 258 balls, batting for almost 4 hours, and helped India earn a memorable draw at the SCG.

Hanuma Vihari, earlier on, had pulled his hamstring while trying to sneak a run with Pujara. With the help of some strappings and pain killers, he put his mind over the body and stonewalled what is supposed to be the best bowling attack in the modern-day. Team India then played for a draw.

Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood were handed the second new ball and they made sure to let the Indians know that they are still in the game. The duo peppered Vihari and Ashwin with some nasty stuff and created opportunities that weren’t grabbed. To sum it all up, the Indians faced racism, criticism, sledging, and injuries but still managed to pull off what feels like a win.

Meanwhile, Twitter showered praise as Team India registered a stunning draw at the SCG.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Saeed Khan