The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) President Rajeev Shukla has come down hard on the Indian cricket team for not going for the win in the final of the 3rd Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. While the cricketers earned praise from all quarters for fighting injuries and salvaging a draw, Shukla had a different opinion.
Meanwhile, Australia dominated most of the sessions in this grueling contest, but India won those that mattered. Steve Smith’s century coupled with half-tons from Will Pucovski and Marnus Labuschagne put the hosts on top after one-and-half days. The Indian bowlers fought back hard to wrestle control from the hosts to end day two on a high. The pendulum again shifted towards the home team and Paine’s men were favourites to go 2-1 up with a day to go after setting a target in excess of 400.
Vihari and Ashwin standout performers for India
Not many have expected India to salvage a draw in the final day let alone a victory after losing Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill in the third session of day 4. And, when Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed in the second over, the Aussies would have fancied their chances to wrap it up quickly. But, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant (promoted to five) had other ideas.
The two contrasting batsmen put the hosts under immense by backing their own strengths. The Indian keeper-batsman, who copped a blow in the first dig, walked out without an arm guard and put on a show with the bat. Yes, he was dropped twice by Paine, but the swashbuckling southpaw forced Paine to take Nathan Lyon off the attack on more than one occasion.
However, Pant missed his ton by three runs trying to a play high-risk shot against Lyon while Hazlewood got one to beat Pujara’s block. The ball has once again shifted to Australia’s court but Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin dished out a fight of the ages.
India had to go for the draw as Vihari injured his hamstring and it really wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on. Ashwin, peppered by some fiery short-ball stuff immediately after tea. The four main Australian, all locals, bowlers gave their best, but the Vihari-Ashwin pair negated everything thrown at them stoutly. They batted for 258 balls before both sides shook hands for a draw.
Indian middle-order could have performed better – Rajeev Shukla
While it might do down only as a draw, it was no short of a victory from India’s perspective. Fighting a mini-hospital like situation and giving everything till the last drop of blood, the batters gave everything to save the match. However, it didn’t impress Rajeev Shukla, who slammed the Indian cricketers for not showing the positive intent to win the Test match.
“Actually the middle order could have performed little better and we would have won the match,” Rajeev Shukla wrote on Twitter.
Actually the middle order could have performed little better and we would have won the match. @BCCI
— Rajeev Shukla (@ShuklaRajiv) January 11, 2021