The uncanny heroes for India, Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari, have opened up on their historic effort to salvage a draw in the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Ravichandran Ashwin and Vihari batted out 258 balls together in Sydney spread over 2.5 hours to preclude the hosts from going up 2-1 in the series. The resilient pair played through their respective injuries, body blows and sometimes overboard Aussie chit-chat to weave one of the most memorable results for India.
Talking to the BCCI, Ravichandran Ashwin found it difficult to put his feelings in words. The off-spinner took inspiration from Faf du Plessis's blockathon of 110 runs (376 balls) in Adelaide in 2012.
"Entirely, I cannot explain how I am feeling but I think it was really, really special. In fact, both of us went numb and blank for a while, we did not celebrate towards the end because we did not know what to make of it. We were so channelized for taking on certain bowlers and kept blocking. Last night, when I went to bed with a sore back, I was just telling myself that 'if I can just keep dead batting like how Faf du Plessis did in Adelaide, I can give myself a good chance'," Ravichandran Ashwin said.
Earlier, Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill made a record-breaking opening stand to lay the foundation for the innings. Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed cheaply, but the polar pair of Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant batted in their own ways to rejuvenated hopes of an unlikely victory.
Ravichandran Ashwin talked about the same and commended the Indian batters.
"Today morning the way Rishabh Pant played, it made everybody hopeful of something that was fantastic that could have been achieved but nevertheless I feel Rishabh and Pujara laid the foundation for us to see through the last two-and-a-half-hour," Ashwin added.
"The communication we had was really special" - Hanuma Vihari
Hanuma Vihari's horrendous tour got even worse when he shredded his hamstring while taking a quick single on the field. However, he went on valiantly and took care of the towering Aussie quicks as Ravichandran Ashwin handled Nathan Lyon.
Vihari said Ravichandran Ashwin shaped like an 'elder brother'. He called to draw a 'fabulous result' and said the satisfaction of it will sink in slowly.
"That session was a real experience for me. It was something that you can only dream of, batting on day five. The series is 1-1 and if you can do it for the team, the satisfaction, I think it will slowly sink and then we will realize how big of an effort that was. Was really happy like how Ash, like an elder brother, was communicating and telling me let's focus one ball at a time and take it as deep as possible. The communication that we had was really special," said Vihari.
"Getting a draw out of it was a fabulous result for us. I feel if I was not injured and Puji would have been there for some more time, we would have had a different result, maybe a fabulous win but nonetheless, I feel 10 points out of this is a massive result for us," Vihari added.
The Gabba, Brisbane will host the series decider from January 15th.