Premier India off-spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin is in all praise for the middle-order batsman, Hanuma Vihari after both of them helped India to a memorable draw in the Sydney Test against Australia. Ashwin and Vihari recorded a partnership of 62 runs for the sixth wicket.
It is not the size of the partnership, but the length of it which mattered the most on Day 5 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). Batting for more than a session; taking body blows from the pacers; against the spin of Nathan Lyon; battling with their own injuries, both the right-hander held the fort for an enormous 259 balls drawing the match out.
Vihari should be really proud of himself: Ravichandran Ashwin
Vihari, who was coming in with scores of 16,8,21, and 4 in the series so far, sustained a hamstring injury early in his innings while sprinting a quick run.
He lost Cheteshwar Pujara at the other end, as Ashwin walked in Australia were just one wicket away from an injured Ravindra Jadeja and a batting inept tail. However, Vihari didn’t give up on the tough situation.
He stood like a rock against the pacers, denied singles – as of course, they were futile while looking to draw a game – absorbed Lyon, even twice got hit by throws from Matthew Wade and didn’t reciprocate with any words. Vihari, who could be even dropped once Virat Kohli comes back in the eleven, risked aggravating his hamstring injury so that the hosts couldn’t take a lead in the series.
The Andhra Pradesh and the Tamil Nadu batsman survived the Aussie bowlers on a Day 5 pitch for 161 and 128 balls, respectively, to save the game for their country.
After the match, Ravichandran Ashwin hailed his batting partner in the historic partnership. He points out that this is Vihari’s second tour and just like on his previous tour Down Under, Vihari proved his solid mettle when it comes to temperament and absorbing pressure. The off-spinner feels that Vihari’s 23 is as good as any hundred.
“Touring Australia is never easy for anyone but Hanuma is here on his second tour. As he went out to bat, there were so many things being flashed out about how many runs he had made in the series. He might have made just 20 today but I think that was as good as making a hundred. I think he should be really proud of himself. He is one batter, we have really banked on. He is solid,” Ravichandran Ashwin told the broadcaster, Sony Sports Networks.