The stage seemed set for the Australians on the final day when they came out to field on Day 5 of the Sydney Test. With both Indian openers back to pavillion the other day while chasing a huge 407, Aussies were oozing with confidence to cross off the remaining eight wickets and restore their lead three match into the Border-Gavaskar series.
They were off to a best possible start as well when Melbourne Test hero and Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane departed just 10 runs into the day. However, what transpired from there on will be an explempary to sheer determination, courage and grit on Indian cricketers. An injured and hopping Hanuma Vihari and an out-of-depth R Ashwin turned unlikely heroes of India when the duo bat out thier hearts in order to ensure a fighting draw. Not to forget the firework of an innings by Rishabh Pant (97 off 118), which had the Aussies worried.
But the main stars certainly were Hanuma (15* off 60), who sustained a hamstring injury minutes after coming out to bat post lunch and Ashwin (50 off 116) as they held on to the other end to deliver a morale-boosting draw as Australians were visibly trudging back to pavillion at the end of the match.
At the end of the game, Aussie skipper Tim Paine, who also dropped Vihari deep into the match, could barely hide his frustration and admitted that this draw feels like a loss.
"I thought we created enough chances to win the game, this one's a tough one to swallow," he said. "Today was a whole-hearted effort from the boys, just that things didn't go our way."