Determined India pull off stunning draw at Sydney

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A battered and bruised India lost only three wickets on the final day as they pulled off a stunning draw against Australia in the third Test in Sydney.

India, resuming on 98-2 and needing a further 309 runs to reach their victory target of 407, were eyeing a win 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 dismissed by Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood respectively to leave India on 272-5.

But Hanuma Vihari (23* off 161) – who was constrained by a hamstring strain he picked up while running – and Ravichandran Ashwin (39* off 128) thwarted Australia for 258 deliveries in a courageous partnership of 62 as the tourists achieved the draw, ending on 334-5.

Vihari was handed a late reprieve when Australia captain Tim Paine put down a chance behind the stumps, one of three drops for Paine on the day, with the wicketkeeper also spilling Pant on three and 56.

Cheteshwar Pujara of India bats during day five of the 3rd Test match in the series between Australia and India at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 11, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Ravindra Jadeja was next on the list to bat, waiting in his protective kit in the pavilion despite his fractured thumb, but was not needed as India ensured the series remained all square heading into the final Test, now confirmed to take place in Brisbane, from January 15.

At one stage during Ashwin and Vihari’s stand, 41 deliveries passed without a run being scored – in stark contrast to when Pant was at the wicket, with the India wicketkeeper nailing 12 fours and three sixes.

The left-hander, who was a serious injury doubt on Saturday after taking a nasty blow to his elbow, fell three runs short of a third Test hundred when he was caught at backward point off-spinner Lyon.

Australia had taken the upper hand in the match after scoring 338 in their first innings and then dismissing India for 244.

Paine’s hosts extended the lead to 406 before declaring on 312-6 in their second innings but their hopes of ripping through India were thwarted.

The tourists will now head to The Gabba with a chance of repeating their 2-1 Test series triumph in Australia in 2018-2019 – although the hosts have not lost a Test at the Brisbane ground since 1988. (Skysports)

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