India lost just three wickets in batting and bruising on the final day as they drew a stunning draw against Australia in the third Test in Sydney.
India, rebounding at 98-2 and needing a further 309 runs to reach their 407 victory target, were eyeing victory when Rishabh Pant (97 off 118) and Cheteshwar Pujara (77 off 205) shared a fourth wicket partnership of 148 .
Australia regained the advantage after Pant and Pujara were sacked by Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood respectively to leave India at 272-5.
But Hanuma Vihari (23 * off 161) – who was constrained by a phenomenal strain that arose while running – and Ravichandran Ashwin (39 * off 128) blocked Australia for 258 deliveries in a brave partnership of 62 as the tourists reached the draw, ending at 334-5.
Vihari received a late reprimand when Australian captain Tim Paine gave Paine one of three drops on the day, with wicket keeper also spinning Pant on three and 56.
Ravindra Jadeja was next on the batting list, remaining in his protective kit in the pavilion despite his broken thumb, but was not needed as India ensured the series stayed all square heading to the final Test , now confirmed to take place in Brisbane, from January 15.
At one point during Ashwin and Vihari’s stand, 41 deliveries passed without a run scored – in stark contrast to when Pant was in the wicket, with India’s wicket keeper nailing 12 fours and three sixes.
The left wing, suspected of a serious injury on Saturday after taking a nasty shot to his elbow, fell three runs short of a third Test hundred when he was caught on point back off the Lyon spinner.
Australia had the upper hand in the contest after scoring 338 in their first innings and then dismissing India for 244.
Paine’s hosts extended the lead to 406 before declaring at 312-6 in their second innings but their hopes of ripping through India were thwarted.
Tourists will now head to The Gabba with a chance to repeat their 2-1 Test series victory in Australia in 2018-2019 – though the hosts have not lost a Test on Brisbane grounds since 1988. (Skysports)