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"I hope people remember this knock from Hanuma Vihari" – Deep Dasgupta

Hanuma Vihari (L) congratulated by stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane after India forced a draw
Hanuma Vihari (L) congratulated by stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane after India forced a draw
Modified 11 Jan 2021, 16:52 IST

Former India wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta hailed Hanuma Vihari’s match-saving knock against Australia on day five of third Test as one of the best he has seen.

He urged everybody to rate the innings not by the runs scored, but by the balls consumed, as the knock kept the series tied at 1-1.

With both Rishabh Pant (97 off 118) and Cheteshwar Pujara (77 off 205) back in the hut, Hanuma Vihari – battling a right hamstring injury – played out 161 balls to score 23 runs.

The right-handed batsman forged a 62-run sixth-wicket stand with Ravichandran Ashwin (39 off 128) off 259 deliveries.

“I think one of the best I have seen him [Hanuma Vihari] play to be honest and I really hope that people remember this knock from him, because it is not about a lot of runs from him.
"I hope people remember this knock from Hanuma Vihari, I honestly pray that people remember because we tend to forget very quickly...for the connoisseur, this is an innings to remember for a very, very long time,” Dasgupta said on Sports Today.

The Aussies had their tail up after reducing India to 272 for 5 with 42.4 overs left in the day. However, Vihari and Ashwin put on a defiant rearguard action, guiding India to 334 for 5 at the end of 131 overs to save the Test in Sydney.

Notably, it was the most number of overs India batted in the fourth innings of a drawn Test since 1979.

Hanuma Vihari’s effort a fantastic example of mind over matter: Dasgupta

Hanuma Vihari receiving treatment on his hamstring from the physio
Hanuma Vihari receiving treatment on his hamstring from the physio

Before the valiant effort in Sydney, Hanuma Vihari had endured a poor tour Down Under. He had managed a meagre 49 runs across four innings, coupled with being sloppy on the field.

Luck has also not been on the 27-year-old’s side while running between the wickets.

After falling prey to Josh Hazlewood’s direct hit in the first innings, Hanuma Vihari sustained a hamstring strain while completing a run in the second essay.

However, he stayed undeterred and helped India draw the match. Deep Dasgupta stated that the knock was an embodiment of “mind over matter”.

“What an effort from Hanuma after the hamstring injury, just to be there and hang in there for as long as he did. I am sure his movements were restricted. That is just mind over matter, we keep talking about it and that was a fantastic example of that,” Dasgupta, who played 8 Tests and 5 ODIs, reasoned.

Despite Team India's bench strength being severely tested, the visitors will take a lot of heart and confidence from their spirited performance in Sydney.

The Ajinkya Rahane-led side will try and build on this to eke out a victory in the fourth Test in Brisbane (Jan 15-19), and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Published 11 Jan 2021, 16:14 IST
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