Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari put on a gritty shift on the final day of the Sydney Test to lead India to a fighting draw against Australia earlier this month. The duo was lauded for its wondrous effort despite facing injuries -- while Ashwin was dealing with back issues, Vihari had pulled his hamstring during the second session of the final day.
Both the players were ruled out of the final Test of the series in Brisbane. However, India made an incredible turnaround despite the severe lack of experience in the bowling attack to beat Australia by 3 wickets.
Ashwin and Vihari batted a total of 289 deliveries during the unbeaten stand on the final day, but the Indian off-spinner has now revelaed that Shardul Thakur also had a role to play in the partnership. During an interview on Ashwin's official YouTube account, India's fielding coach R Sridhar revealed how Thakur 'passed on' the instructions from the dressing room to the pair.
Ravi Shastri had given a number of instructions to Thakur to pass on to Ashwin and Vihari. However, the Indian pacer, not wanting to confuse the batting pair, decided to say nothing.
Sridhar said, “Ravi Shastri had a clear message. He called Shardul Thakur (and said) ‘Shardul, come here and tell them that I told this specifically.’ He (Shardul) was almost shivering. He said ‘ What should I say, sir?’ ‘Tell Ash, that I told him’, Shastri replied. ‘What should I tell him, sir?’, Thakur enquired.”
“Shastri said, ‘Ashwin should take care of this end, and Vihari should bat from the other end. Ashwin is the best batsman against Nathan Lyon in this entire team. So he should bat from this end. He has a huge stride which helps him negate spin so well. Vihari is managing Starc and Cummins really well, getting underneath those bouncers. So ask them to continue’.”
Ashwin said: “Then out came Shardul, running out from the dressing room. He was catching his breath when he reached us. We were like: ‘Just say it man’, while drinking water. Shardul said: ‘They told me so many things from the dressing room’. Yes, please tell, (I said). ‘But I am not going to say any of it,” Shardul replied. “You guys are doing a great job. So please continue.”
Vihari remained unbeaten on 23 runs, facing 161 deliveries, while Ashwin played 128 deliveries for an unbeaten 39.