- Cricket pundits would have felt exhilarated watching the last day unfold at the Sydney Cricket Ground as the third Test match between Australia and India went to the wire. Displaying an inspirational, courageous, determined, gritty, and admirable fight against not only the opposition baying for blood but also battling out bruises, injury, and career at stakes to eke out a well fought out draw is no less than a victory itself. Same sentiments were echoed by the Stand-In Skipper Ajinkya Rahane as well when the stumps were drawn for the last time in the match.
PC: Siddharth Vishwanathan
- That the pair of Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin batted out 40 overs to earn a draw is simply exceptional. Encomiums would not suffice to describe the never-say-die approach of the Indian cricketers when faced with a barrage of challenges and to overcome the same with such awe-inspiring performances speaks volumes about the mental fortitude exhibited with such professional finesse. Make no mistake, this rearguard action by Team India will go down in the history of cricket annals as one of the best, if not the best overseas performances and under grueling conditions against a top-class bowling attack like the Aussies.
- That the relentless attack from the famed bowlers could not breach the lower order batsmen deserves special accolades for sure. Others deserve a special mention as well. People unaware of the prerequisites of a Test match would despise watching a specialist batsman like Cheteshwar Pujara grinding the bowling without showing any of the flamboyancy associated with more fancied colleagues where flashes of brilliance are thrown at regular intervals. But one unquestionable quality the top-order batsman possesses is to not throw away the wicket in pursuit of pleasing the spectators, and critics brought on a diet of bang-bang T20 cricket.
PC: Anand Vasu
- Players like Pujara are to be treasured in the longer format of the game as he showed yet again with a stoic 77 under trying circumstances laying a solid foundation for drawing the match eventually. Despite copping criticism for sluggish work behind the wickets, the precocious talent of Rishabh Pant came to the fore when he almost single-handedly invoked optimism for some time in the Indian ranks about an improbable win while cracking an entertaining 97. Yes, his glovework is a work in progress but Pant is an X-factor for Team India that cannot be denied as proved of what he is worth at the SCG.
- As usual, Rohit Sharma flattered to deceive in both the innings, especially in the second, as a big score from the hitman would have resulted in a different outcome for the team. Ever reliable Jasprit Bumrah and impressive Mohammad Siraj deserve a pat on the back for showing sprightly spirit. Now the focus shifts to the Gabba, Brisbane a happy hunting ground for the hosts. Team India will only have to ensure a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Of course, a win would be an icing on the cake ensuring a definite turnaround for the team aiming at having a go at the ICC Test Championship as also establishing credible credentials of being more than mere travelers. Cannot wait for the Test to begin in Brisbane.