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“As good as making a hundred” – Ashwin in awe of Hanuma Vihari’s brave knock

Hanuma Vihari (L) overcame an injury to see out the game against Australia
Hanuma Vihari (L) overcame an injury to see out the game against Australia
Wasiq Agha
Modified 11 Jan 2021, 14:13 IST

Ravichandran Ashwin heaped praise on Hanuma Vihari after the pair batted brilliantly to draw the Sydney Test against Australia. The bowler applauded Vihari as he overcame a tough period and rose to the occasion at a time of adversity for the visitors.

Hanuma Vihari braved a hamstring injury to bat for more than 3 hours on Day 5 of the Sydney Test. The batsman had torn his hamstring while attempting a single earlier, but kept going. He made 23 off 161 deliveries while injured to guide India to a famous draw.

Speaking to broadcasters after the game, Ravichandran Ashwin, who batted with Hanuma Vihari in a 259-ball partnership, compared his partner’s efforts to a ton. 

“Touring Australia is never easy for anyone. But Hanuma is here on a second tour and, as he went out to bat, there were so many things being flashed about how many runs he had scored in this series. He might have made just 20 today, but I think that was as good as making a hundred.”

Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin had the responsibility after Pujara got dismissed in the second session. But the duo dug deep and saw out the Australian attack, as both remained unbeaten at the end of Day 5.

Vihari’s effort, in particular, was impressive. After tearing his hamstring, the batsman couldn’t even run a single with ease, as he struggled in the middle. But India’s No. 6 showed fantastic determination as his gritty knock helped the team save the match. He faced the Australian bowlers with confidence and held one end up, blocking everything that came his way.

Hanuma Vihari impresses after struggling in this series

Vihari was run out in the 1st innings by Hazlewood
Vihari was run out in the 1st innings by Hazlewood

The batsman had failed to get going before his monumental effort in the 2nd innings. Hanuma Vihari had registered scores of 16, 8 and 21 across the first 2 Tests. His selection for the Sydney Test was questioned too.

Even in the first innings at Sydney, Vihari was run out for just 4. But he turned it around on Day 5, displaying tremendous mental strength to overcome injury and bat the way he did.

Ravichandran Ashwin paid a tribute to Vihari’s character, admitting that the knock will mean a lot to him.

“He should be really proud of himself. He’s one batter we’ve really banked upon. He’s really solid and he can make those big scores. This knock will mean a world to him.”

The severity of Hanuma Vihari’s injury wasn’t revealed by Ajinkya Rahane post-match, and it is unsure whether he’ll play the Brisbane Test. With a home series against England next, it may be some time before fans see Sydney's hero back in action.

But Hanuma Vihari has made sure that even if this was his last Test innings for a while, it will have a special place in the heart of every Indian fan across the globe.

Published 11 Jan 2021, 14:13 IST
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