Sydney: Ravichandran Ashwin said Monday that Hanuma Vihari’s unbeaten 23 off 161 balls in a match-saving stand of 62 runs with him in the third Test against Australia was equal to scoring a hundred. Ashwin made 39 off 128 balls. He along with Vihari pulled off an amazing draw for the visitors. Vihari pulled his hamstring at the start of his innings and was struggling to run between the wickets.
“After (Cheteshwar) Pujara and (Rishabh) Pant’s wicket and with Vihari injured, it was going to be difficult to go for a win. Touring Australia is never easy so Vihari can be proud of himself. It was a knock equal to scoring a hundred,” Ashwin told Channel 7.
Ashwin said the confidence gained from productive net sessions helped him finally come good against Australia. “I have been batting well in the nets, so it was great to spend some time in the middle. Chasing 400 here was never going to be easy, as the ball was going up and down. That knock by Pant set us up,” Ashwin pointed out.
The 34-year-old Ashwin did not score big in his previous four innings. He said he took confidence from his batting record at the SCG. “I was just telling the batting coach (Vikram Rathour) during the lunch break that I have never left the SCG without a fifty. This is a venue where I have done well with the bat and today’s innings is right up there,” Ashwin stated.
The premier off-spinner said facing the formidable pacer trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood on day five was a tough job. “In Test cricket, we don’t get a lot of draws. It was a really exciting last session. I just went to Pujara and told him, you sold me down the river in both the innings,” Ashwin said.
“Cummins was bowling in a different league altogether. There was a bit of double bounce, so it was difficult against Cummins. I think facing Bumrah in the nets is not easy. We have bowlers who can bowl in the 150s,” Ashwin said.