The Sydney Saga: Ashwin and Vihari’s Resilient Partnership

Let me ask you one question?

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Have you been able to get over this picture? I guess, most of you haven’t.

India managed to pull off a blinder, a dream became reality with everyone’s resilient efforts. There were so many brilliant performances in the series by the Indian players which guided them to crush Australia in Australia in the absence of big names in their team. Isn’t that surreal?

Talking about performances, there was one totally unanticipated partnership between the two players who were suffering from serious pain.

Ashwin-Vihari’s Escape:

Australia declared its second innings and made India chase a mammoth total of 407 with 4 sessions left. What did you think, 138 overs with cracks on the wicket? Naah! Seems very tough, didn’t you feel the same? Let me tell you, we all did. India ended the day four with 98-2 with Pujara and Rahane in the middle. No doubt, Australia was in the commanding position at the moment, and these two were the most dependable batsmen of the team. The two could hold on and can think of saving the test match as going for the win wasn’t risk-free.

India in Trouble

Unfortunately, god had some other plans, Rahane departed in the second over of the day 5. Now, India was in serious trouble. Pant was promoted up the order, he along with Pujara started building the innings and battled against the bowling unit. Although Pujara was playing his natural game, Rishabh Pant on the other end had some different plans altogether. He started attacking Lyon and his intent was very clear. He even started taking Starc under his belt. But, he kept on attacking Lyon and mishit one to get caught to Cummins. With a well made 97(118), Pant had to go.

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Now, the Australians had an upper edge in the match. The reason being, Jadeja, who was the next batsman to come in, had a fractured thumb. To add more advantage in Australia’s favour, Hanuma Vihari pulled his right hamstring in the 88th over. He got his right thigh strapped.

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And, to add to the misery, Pujara got out in the very next over.

Draw: The only option

Ashwin came in to bat as Jadeja was in serious pain. Ashwin-Vihari had to bat for close to one and a quarter session. Remember, Vihari was battling in with a strapped right hamstring which meant that he couldn’t run. This meant that India couldn’t go for a win, it was just not possible. India had to bat the overs. And to do that, it required sheer resilience from both ends. Not just resilience, but proper understanding as well. Both of these guys got run out in the last innings, mind you.


It was quite evident that Ashwin was struggling against the fast bowlers as he had already survived two balls into his rib cage. He then had to call for the chest guard.

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Moreover, Vihari due to his strapped right thigh couldn’t bend for the front foot defence. Both of them had a say, and here you go, Ashwin with full command played Lyon on one end and Vihari, being a test batsman played the dangerous Starc on the other. This Sydney wicket had developed a fair amount of cracks on the fourth day. In fact, Starc even started using those cracks as an instrument in some instances. But, Vihari managed to survive. Not to forget, Ashwin played on Lyon with full command but he wasn’t fully fit either.

Aussies were frustrated, so was their skipper. Paine tried to ruin Ashwin’s concentration with a few words here and there. Ashwin was determined, it didn’t disturb him but he definitely disturbed Paine with his words. Because Paine dropped an easy chance off Vihari later.

Although their alliance was only 62 runs, they battled for 256 deliveries, the fourth-longest partnership recorded for the sixth wicket in the fourth innings of a Test in a win or a draw.

Ashwin was suffering from back pain and Vihari was battling with his strapped right hamstring. Both of them were fighting with the pain and the agony and still managed to save the test match. This is one partnership that aptly defined India’s fighting spirit, even though bruised, they will go for the kill.

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