Pant's excellent counter-attacking innings of 97 came off just 118 deliveries, and it looked like India would cruise to victory when he was on the crease. He was making batting on a Day 5 pitch look very easy, as he took the attack to Australia's world-class pace attack.
"Chasing 400 in the final innings with the ball going up and down was never going to be easy. But that knock from Rishabh (Pant) really set us up, that's the sort of player he is. He's quite electric, he excites you. You don't want to be on either dressing room watching him bat. Because if you're in the opposition dressing room you're thinking you want his wicket. But we're sitting there thinking he should have played less shots. He puts you on the tenterhooks all the time. But that knock set us up," Ashwin said after the match.
It was difficult to go for the win after Pant & Pujara's wickets: Ravichandran Ashwin
Ravichandran Ashwin also spoke about the impact losing Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara had on India. They looked to be edging towards a possible victory, but after Australia roared back with two quick wickets, India weren't left with any choice but to defend and fight for the draw.
With multiple injuries in the India camp, especially to Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin felt that India had to dig deep in order to get a draw.
"We lost Pant and Pujara back to back which sort of took things back. I tweaked my back last evening, Vihari tore his hamstring, so it was very difficult for us to go for the win after that."
And Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari did just that, batting together for more than 50 overs to help India earn an improbable draw. The result keeps the series level at 1-1 going into the fourth and final Test which begins on Friday.Published 11 Jan 2021, 14:26 IST