All-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin was in “unbelievable pain” on Sunday night and “could not stand up straight” when he woke up on Monday morning on the final day of the third Test against Australia, his wife Prithi has said.
Despite that, Ashwin, along with Hanuma Vihari (23* off 161 balls), showed great grit and resilience to help India secure a famous draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground and set up a compelling finale to the ongoing four-match series later this week.
Chasing a mammoth target of 407, India reached 334/5 batting for 131 overs before both the teams decided to shake hands on the final day of the Test match.
Ashwin scored unbeaten 39 runs from the 128 deliveries he faced and along with an injured Vihari — who was barely able to move due to injury — he shared an unbeaten 62-run partnership, batting for more than 40 overs and ensured the hosts didn’t take a 2-1 lead in the series.
“The man went to bed last night with a terrible back tweak and in unbelievable pain. He could not stand up straight when he woke up this morning. Could not bend down to tie his shoelaces. I am amazed at what Ravichandran Ashwin pulled off today,” tweeted Prithi after the end of the Test match.
Ashwin, elevated in the batting order because Ravindra Jadeja copped a fractured thumb when hit while batting in the first innings, suffered various blows on his body when Australia’s fast bowlers resumed after Tea with fire in their bellies and blood in the nostrils.
Talking to the broadcasters after the match, the off-spinner said it was difficult to bat, especially against right-arm pacer Pat Cummins.
“…Cummins was bowling in a different league altogether. There was a bit of double bounce, so it was difficult against Cummins,” said the off-spinning all-rounder.
The 34-year-old also posted a couple of pictures on Instagram after the conclusion of the match with a caption: “The picture says it all. A feeling that I cannot express in words. Thanks to all my teammates and well-wishers.”
Ashwin has scalped 12 wickets and scored 78 runs in the three matches that have been played so far in the series.
With the series tied at 1-1, Australia and India will now face each other in the final Test beginning Friday at The Gabba in Brisbane.