India skipper Ajinkya Rahane on Monday lauded his team’s fighting spirit and character after the visitors batted the entire fifth day to draw the third Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
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.
Australia had posted 338 in their first innings and then bowled out India for 244, thus attaining a 94-run lead. The hosts declared their second innings at 312/6, setting a 407-run target.
Starting the final day at 98/2, India needed 309 runs and had their backs against the wall.
“Our talk coming this morning was to show character and fight till the end and not to think about the result. I am really happy with the way we fought especially today but also throughout the game, even in the first innings when Australia were 200/2 and getting them all out for 338 was really good,” Rahane said at the post-match presentation ceremony while talking about the mindset of the Indian team before entering the final day.
India lost Rahane very early on Day Five and put the hosts in a commanding position. But Cheteshwar Pujara (77) and Rishabh Pant (97) shared a 148-run partnership for the fifth wicket and brought the visitors back into the match.
After their dismissals, Hanuma Vihari (23*) and Ravichandran Ashwin shared an unbeaten 62-run partnership, which batting out for 259 balls as India denied Australia with an opportunity to go 2-1 up in the ongoing four-Test series.
Rahane, while praising Vihari and Ashwin, said that there are a few areas where the team needs to improve before the last Test.
“There are few areas we can improve on but special mention to Vihari and Ashwin. The way they batted in the end and showed character was really good to see,” said the stand-in India skipper.
Australia had won the first Test by eight wickets in Adelaide while India registered a stunning comeback in Melbourne, winning the Boxing Day Test by eight wickets.
The series, currently tied at 1-1, will now be decided in the final Test beginning Friday at The Gabba in Brisbane.