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11 January, 2021

Aussies Left Panting As India Save Test And Virat Becomes A Dad


Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara finally showed their teammates and India's cricket fans that, on a day, your 'Will' to perform more than 'Skill' is all you need to help your team and country's cause.

The duo, along with Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari have given workforce in Corporate India an example on the difference between "Will issue" and "Skill issue."

They've had the skill and on Monday, 5th day of the Test, used their will in not letting Australia win the Test. 

They now go to Brisbane for the final of the 4-Test series level at 1-all.

Collectively, these four ensured India batted the longest 131 overs in their second inning, batting last to save this Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday.

Their effort drew instant praise from legends including Sachin Tendulkar. (See copy of tweet below)

The last they batted longer in an away Test was in 1979 versus England at The Oval.

"Our talk this morning was showing character and fight till the end," Team India skipper Ajinkya Rahane said at the end of the day's and match's play.

Free Shipping On Wild Seafood & Organic Fare!At the SCG, the captain himself missed out on the opportunity to showcase any of the CIA qualities (Character, Intent, Attitude) that helped India win the Melbourne Test.

The onus and gauntlet was instead picked up by the Pujara, Pant, Ashwin, Vihari quartet.

Here are 5 reasons India snatched a draw from a possible defeat:

1. Promoting Pant to bat ahead of Vihari

Rahane and the Team India thinktank did well and timely to send in lefthander Pant to join Pujara at the crease instead of Vihari, at the fall of their captain's wicket. 

"It was a strategy to have right-left combination in the middle but credit to Pant," Rahane said post match.

This column had predicted yesterday that India may make this move not only for the reason ascribed by Rahane but also because Vihari and Pujara play in similar slow manner. 

Having Pant instead meant you had a batsman who could attack from the other end and frustrate the opposition. See yesterday's prediction here: India Brace For 3 2018-19 Like Pujara Sessions From One End To Save Test   

2. Jadeja's Injury, Rahane's Fall A Blessing

Injury to Jadeja's bowling thumb and skipper Rahane's early exit on Day 5 meant India needed the batsmen to follow to raise their hands and assume responsibility and ownership.

Pujara, Pant, Ashwin and Vihari did just that. They took the responsibility and the ownership of thwarting every Aussie move and keep their team's prospect buoyant in the series by clinching the draw.

3. Drop Catches, Lose Chance To Win

Australia skipper Tim Paine realised this lesson the practical and hard way when he dropped three crucial catches and substitute fielder Shaun Abbott another important one among few others on Day 5 and during this Test.

"We created enough chances. Our bowlers were superb. So this is a tough one to swallow. I will have to take the blame for the dropped catches," Paine said in his post match interview.

4. Ashwin, Vihari Bond Over Language

Whether it was destined, no one knows. But the coming together of Ashwin and Vihari on Monday seemed written in their stars.

World Best ChocolatesRahane fell early, Pant was sent in ahead of Vihari. Then both, Pant and Pujara fell in quick succession bringing Ashwin and Vihari together. 

Batting wise, Vihari is the specialist batsman while seniority wise, Ashwin came into the Test side seven years ahead of Vihari. 

While former Australia and India players-turned-commentators debated over who between Ashwin and Vihari was the decision maker in facing the Aussie quicks, the duo were heard discussing their plan and progress in vernacular Tamil language.

Vihari is born and raised in Andhra Pradesh where the native language spoken is Telugu as this tweet, below, from Harsha Bhogle suggests. You must have also seen David Warner dance to Telugu songs.

Yet, Vihari seemed to understand and speak Tamil that's Ashwin's mother tongue in Tamil Nadu

This bonding over a common language that was Greek to the opposition did help the two to bat out 42.4 overs for their 62-run partnership for the 6th wicket.

5. Benign 5th Day Wicket & Poor Captaincy

The gremlins in the SCG pitch were discussed vociferously on the 3rd and 4th days of this Test.

The final day was expected to produce even more demons in the pitch that would turn nightmare for India batting last.

Instead the pitch turned benign, making the famed Aussie pace trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and spinner Nathan Lyon sweat.

Sweat they did and even produced several gems of wicket taking deliveries. However, their captain Paine was the main culprit as he dropped catches that should have been taken.

Paine was also responsible for not showing courage by having an attacking field to help Lyon, especially before lunch and tea.

Eden's Herbals 10% exclusive discountAn injury-ridden Team India and a demoralised Aussie side now travel to Brisbane for the final of the four Tests. 

The home team do not have injury worries and will take the field all guns blazing. They'd want to win the series and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy from India.

The battle-scarred and depleted Team India will once again need to display the three most important traits -- Character, Intent, Attitude -- that have won them hearts worldwide and retain the trophy.

The fourth Test begins on 15 January, 2021.

For Updated Scorecard for the 3rd Test, click here

On this day, 11 January 2021, Indian cricket and Bollywood celebrity fans also received this happy news: