Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane has said that the heroic draw that his team pulled out at the Sydney Cricket Ground is as good as a win besides hailing Hanuma Vihari for the grit, determination, and bravery that he displayed despite being grappled with a hamstring injury.
Hanuma Vihari batted on literally one leg for more than three hours on day 05 at the SCG and along with Ravichandran Ashwin blunted out more than 42 overs to help Team India stage a draw for the ages.
Heaping high praise on the Andhra batsman, Ajinkya Rahane said that his knock was even more special than the hundred he got against the West Indies back in 2019.
“…today we all saw that special knock. I think this knock was more special than his hundred (in 2019 in the West Indies) especially the way he batted after getting injured,” Ajinkya Rahane said during the virtual post-match press conference.
>“To show that kind of motivation, hunger and hang in there for your team, that’s what shows the character of an individual. It’s all about what the team wants and credit to him. There was pressure and the way he batted was special,” said Rahane, lauding the young man from Andhra Pradesh.
Rahane said that the heroic draw is as good as a Test win given the fact that it came against a world-class bowling attack in their den. He lauded every single player from Rohit Sharma to Ravichandran Ashwin, who played a significant role in helping the visitors achieve their goal.
“This is as good as winning a Test match. When you come abroad and play a match like this, it was really special as I said. It’s as good as victory. Credit to Vihari, Ashwin, (Rishabh) Pant, (Cheteshwar) Pujara, the way they batted. Rohit (Sharma) at the start. Everyone chipped in but credit to those two guys in the end.” he added.
The Indian skipper revealed that once the duo of Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara was dismissed, the team-management decided to shut shop and aim for a draw, considering the fact that Hanuma Vihari was battling with a hamstring injury.
“The way Rishabh and Pujara were going, we needed to take one session at a time. After Rishabh and Pujara got out, unfortunately, Vihari had that injury and because of that, he had to play a certain kind of role. As I said earlier, this is as good as a victory for us.” Rahane said.
The captain, however, admitted that they were literally counting each delivery in excitement during the final few overs.
“Last five or six overs we were counting down (deliveries). Apart from that, we were all sure about Ashwin’s ability and how good he is as a batsman,” he said. The message during tea break was one over at a time, let’s not think too far ahead and in the last five or six overs, we were counting each and every delivery.” he signed off.