01.25 pm: We started this blog wondering if, on Rahul Dravid’s birthday, India could produce a performance befitting the occasion. Well, this is a performance that would make him proud. And with Vihari involved, the former India A coach would be extra pleased. Rishabh Pant made India believe a win was possible, Cheteshwar Pujara gave hope that a draw is still possible, and then Ashwin Ravichandran-Hanuma Vihari (both battling physical pain), came together for a serious act of defiance. A draw after 35 overs in the final session, a draw after plenty of blows to the body. A day Indian cricket fans won’t forget for a long time.
1.12 pm: A fantastic Ashwin Ravichandran interview. We will have more from it shortly. Joked that Rahane will just have to find who is fit in the dressing room and make a XI for Brisbane. Also says he had back issues last night and of course, plenty of praise for the Indian batsmen who battled it out today.
1.04 pm: Ashwin is a Test cricket tragic: Melbourne was amazing, but you don’t get such lovely draws, he says.
REMINDER: The series remains tied at 1-1. And India need to avoid defeat or go better than that at Gabba, Australia’s fortress, to retain Border Gavaskar Trophy.
Zenia D’Cunha: Before Sydney Test, Hanuma Vihari’s form & place in the team was under question Now, he likely won’t play the fourth Test & possibly miss matches against Engalnd too But this extraordinary effort on a hurt hamstring means no will forget his contribution to the India-Australia lore.
Vinayakk Mohanarangan: Virat Kohli must be a really, really, really proud man today somewhere. Must be as pleased if not more than most Indian fans.
Ashish Magotra: What relief. I can breathe again. India can breathe again. What a match!! A rearguard action that will go down in history books. Pujara. Pant. Vihari. Ashwin. Great character shown by everyone in that Indian dressing room.
Post-match: Wish that one over was played at the end because that would have meant India batted *36* overs in the final session to earn the draw! That would have been something.
END OF MATCH: It’s a famous draw, folks. Were you entertained?
DRAW AT SYDNEY CRICKET GROUND: A scorecard to remember.
|Rohit||c Starc b Cummins||52||98||53.06||5||1|
|Gill||c Paine b Hazlewood||31||64||48.43||4||0|
|Rahane||c Wade b Lyon||4||18||22.22||0||0|
|Pant||c Cummins b Lyon||97||118||82.20||12||3|
IT IS A DRAW AT SCG: What a day. What a day!
India 334/5, 1 over left: A four off the first ball. Then, later in the over, a sensational ball from Starc that beats the outside edge. And of course, Ashwin gives a thumbs up. Starc can only look updwards and smile. Vihari then leaves brilliantly outside off. Well, nothing actually brilliant about it but it feels so.
Starc comes on. India nearly there.
India 330/5, 2 overs left: Some singles being taken, some runs being scored. But really, no one is keeping a count of all that.
Just realised: You cannot spell Ashwin Ravichandran without Vihari. Well, what a sensational partnership
India 324/5, 3 overs left: Vihari plays a shot in anger! Well not really, it’s a smooth square cut off Starc for four. The partnership is 52 off 247 balls. Epic.
Sanjay Manjrekar just said on air that all three results are possible. That’s some trolling.
India 320/5, 5 overs left: Starc with another good over but the edges are not either carrying or beating the bat.
India 319/5, 6 overs left: Sanjay Manjrekar says R Ashwin might have played Lyon the best among all Indian batsmen today and he has a point. Defence-wise, Ashwin has been fantastic against his fellow offie.
India 319/5, 7 overs left: Excellent bowling there by Starc but didn’t get the wicket he is desperate for. A couple of really full balls, just about kept out by Ashwin.
India 319/5, 8 overs left: Lyon completes another over. Here’s the chance that went down.
DROPPED!!! TIM PAINE! He has been chatting away behind the stumps, but not for the first time today. he has let his team down. He has dropped a catch that was going straight to Warner at first slip. He should have caught it too anyway. Starc cannot believe it. Vihari had almost started walking.
Starc into the attack...
Ashish Magotra: This must be hardest on Paine. His mind must keep going back to the two times he dropped Pant.
India 319/5, 10 overs left: Prithi Ashwin is all of us at the moment as Paine wouldn’t stop talking. Ashwin is not taking strike till Paine stops. What theatre this is.
India 319/5, 11 overs left: Hanuma Vihari went from 7 off 124 balls to 15 off 128 balls. Cheteshwar Pujara nods approvingly.
India 307/5, 12 overs left: First time in a while Ashwin looked uncomfortable to a delivery from Lyon, a loud appeal for LBW but Australia have just one review. So not taken. A boundary for Ashwin in that over but pretty sure even he doesn’t care about that.
India 307/5, 13 overs left: A single for Ashwin and no-ball in that Cummins over, which means an extra ball to defend for India more than extra run at the moment. The partnership has lasted 186 balls for 35 runs.
Here we go! Pat Cummins time... Ashwin on strike, but gets to the non-striker’s off the first ball.
India 305/5, 14 overs left: Well, one down in the final hour as Lyon bowls a maiden. Vihari faces a couple of appeals but more desperation than conviction in those from Aussies.
INTO THE FINAL HOUR AT SCG: Wow, words fail to describe how riveting this has been. India 305/5 after 117 overs. Minimum 15 overs from here.
Hazlewood comes on to bowl the over that will mark the last hour of this Test.
India 301/5 after 116 overs 16 overs. 96 balls left in the day. Ashwin and Vihari in the middle. All of India holding its collective breath.
India 300/5 after 115 overs: A single! India have taken a single. And what a single too. A ball that tailed back into Vihari viciously. One run in the last 42 balls.
India 299/5 after 114 overs: The partnership is 27 off 154 balls, six maiden overs in a row. Wow. Just wow. Ashwin plays out Labuschagne’s over. Surely he cannot continue bowling from one end?
Vihari, by the way, has faced 100 balls now!
India 299/3 after 113 overs: A few oohss and aaahs in that Hazlewood over. Vihari did not look comfortable, a few not-well-timed shots that evaded fielders. Feels like there is a breakthrough around the corner at the moment for Aussies.
India 299/5 after 112 overs: Labuschagne comes on to bowl leg spin. It’s a maiden over, and the Indian batsmen are not even trying to walk between the wickets now. All about the dots. Meanwhile, there is evidently one person who’s been chanting “Vihari, Vi-HA-RI!” at SCG. Heard during the Hazlewood over.
India 299/5 after 110 overs: Getting all chirpy in the middle. Back to back maiden overs from Starc and Lyon. 22 overs left in the day. TWENTY TWO.
Meanwhile, Vihari batting on 6 off 85 balls. This is a great, great effort.
India 299/5 after 108 overs: BACK TO BACK BOUNDARIES FOR ASHWIN! Well, that was exciting. Two drives, one down the ground and one past point. Lyon cannot be pleased about that. Also worth noting that Australia have only one review left...
India 291/5 after 106.3 overs: The ball is hit into the open spaces in the deep but the batsmen are just ambling across for a single. A walk in the park, but not in the sense we know.
India 290/5 after 105 overs: Bouncer barrage from Starc to Ashwin. He is backing over to the offside.
India 289/5 after 104 overs: We did not quite hear what Paine said at the start of the previous Lyon over but it certainly sounded like he was annoyed at the time it was taking for the Indians to get ready. This is some fascinating battle.
India 289/5 after 104 overs: When the Australian captain is rattled in the final session of a Test match, you know the Indians are doing something right.
India 289/5 after 102 overs: Some respite (in terms of the body blows at least) as Lyon comes on from one end.
India 288/5 after 101 overs: Ashwin going after the short balls now (kinda) A pull that evades the fielder and then a guided lofted shot (it was an edge) over gully.
Ashwin gets hit by another short ball. This time in the ribs. What do you make of Australia’s line of attack?
India 284/5 after 100 overs: Vihari playing the short balls better at the crease, good technique. Ashwin is battling.
India 283/5 after 99 overs: A leading edge from Ashwin falls in no man’s land. More short-balls in that Cummins over. Brutal stuff.
India 282/5 after 98 overs: Another over, another blow on the body for Ashwin. And a top edge falls safely at the end of the over.
India 281/5 after 97 overs: Ashwin needed some treatment after getting hit on the shoulder. The physio has been a busy man. Meanwhile, Vihari is just about managing to move one from end to another.
GOOD REVIEW: WOW. Talk about getting into it right away. Ashwin is given out caught by Paine off a bouncer and he reviews it immediately. Replays show that it came from the arm guard.
Just what the Indian fans wouldn’t like to see... Cummins comes steaming in.
TEA, DAY 5: Pant’s 97 gave India hope of a win, Pujara’s 77 gave India hope of a draw, but now it is up to injured batsmen and not-so-good lower-order batsmen to survive a final session. The beauty and pain of Test cricket.
END OF SESSION: India 280/5 after 96 overs. India are 127 runs behind. India are fighting hard. India are not going away. But Australia are closing in on a win. It’s Paine’s men versus men in pain.
India 279/5 after 95 overs: Vihari on 4 off 51 balls, battling along at the crease for now.
NOTE: That front-arm slow-motion replay of Pujara’s dismissal was quite telling. The seam was pointing towards leg side from Hazlewood but the ball straightened after pitching. Even for someone who watches the ball so closely, that last minute change would have been telling.
India 279/5 after 93 overs: Ashwin survives a review for bat-pad in Lyon’s over and finishes it with a lofted shot over midwicket for four. And other end, pace continues. What are the chances of Mitch Starc getting 3/4/5 wickets here? This is his territory.
India 275/5 after 91 overs: Ashwin and a injured Vihari in the middle, so the runs are going to be dry up now for sure.
India 274/5 after 89 overs: WHAT are you doing Ashwin! He calls Vihari for a quick single and the latter had given up while limping. A direct hit and he was gone at the end of that Hazlewood over.
WICKET!!! AND THAT’S THE BIG ONE! Hazlewood gets one to keep a tad bit low and it is another peach to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara in this series. Off stump rattled and Hazlewood celebrated it like it was the biggest wicket of his career.
India 272/4 after 88 overs: Vihari resumes batting but he can just about walk normally here. Does not look comfortable at all.
OH DEAR: Just as we were all getting excited seeing Ravindra Jadeja getting padded up, Hanuma Vihari needs treatment for his hamstring. THIS IS BRUTAL. Pulled up after a quick single.
India 271/4 after 87 overs: Pujara gets a streaky four off Hazlewood. He has earned his streaky fours in this match.
India 266/4 after 86 overs: Well, well. Lyon comes on to bowl, Pucovski leaves the field in the over in the injury, while we see images of Jadeja padded up (with his GLOVES ON!) in the dressing room.
India 264/4 after 85 overs: Vihari is off the mark finally, with a single off Cummins.
India 262/4 after 84 overs: Another maiden over from Hazlewood to Vihari who is on 0 off 17 balls. We need a break too as players go for drinks.
India 262/4 after 83 overs: Did we say two results were ruled out a bit earlier? Scratch that. We were all alive when Cheteshwar Pujara hit a hat-trick of fours against Pat Cummins with the second new ball. Relish this moment. First, off drive. Then, a punch through point. And finally, an on-drive.
India 250/4 after 82 overs: A massive innings for Vihari... plays out a maiden off Hazlewood.
India 250/4 after 81 overs: Cummins with the second new ball and it is already making Pujara look shaky. A sensational delivery from length, that jags back in and cuts Pujara into half.
India 250/4 after 80 overs: Second new ball taken and that Pant dismissal was perhaps two results taken out of the equation too.
WICKET!!! Pant falls after a brilliant, brilliant innings. Lyon finally gets him. 97 off 118 balls. 12 fours, 3 sixes. Test cricket, you magnificent, cruel thing, you. But be proud, young man. Be very proud.
India 250/3 after 79 overs: And now Pujara is going after Green! Short ball, pulled away brilliantly for four. Oh there are so many Indians waking up to incredible scenes at SCG.
India 246/3 after 78 overs: RISHABH PANT! Back-to-back fours off Lyon. One down the ground, a risky shot wide off long on. The next, powered through cover. THIS IS EXHILARATING. Moves on to 97.
Vinayakk Mohanarangan: Sanjay Manjrekar seems to think Rishabh Pant is going after the bowling here to reach his century before the 2nd new ball, when more likely, he’s doing it tactically just to attack the old ball before things get tight again. A difference in point of view among different generations I suppose.
India 235/3 after 77 overs: Australia using Green to keep their pacers fresh and Pant is going after the bowling! What a player. Twice he throws his bat with purpose, mind you, and twice he gets a four over behind point. Moves on to 88.
HALF CENTURY: A 174-ball half century in the 1st innings. A 170-ball half century in the 2nd innings. Cheteshwar Pujara doing Cheteshwar Pujara things. Gets there with a four off Lyon, whipped through the square leg region.
The edge off Pant in Lyon’s last over hit Paine’s pads. Too harsh to call that a chance.
India 218/3 after 74 overs: Another edge from Pant off Lyon but this is cut hard, and yorks Smith at slip so not really a chance.
India's 6000-run Test club
India 217/3 after 73 overs: An upper cut for four by Pujara in that over! Well, well.
MILESTONE: 6000 Test runs for Pujara in his 134th innings.
India 211/3 after 72 overs: Pujara seems to be making a conscious attempt to rotate strike. Perhaps the plan is to have Pant face as many as possible when he is still feeling in good touch. Two runs from Lyon’s over.
India 209/3 after 71 overs: as is often the case, a break for a hit on the helmet, is followed by another short ball. Pulled by Pant this time to fine leg.
Ouch. Pant hit on the helmet by Starc. The physio is out. The left-hander seems to be okay. He will continue.
India 206/3 after 70 overs: Right then, here we go. Starc starts off.
Session break: Just to remind you, the second new ball is due in just 10 overs from now.
Ashish Magotra: In the first session, Pant and Pujara were India’s sword and shield. One attacked. One defended resolutely. It was the kind of session, India’s fans deserve.
Session break: How about a vote in our poll?
Ashwin at the end of day four:
“The pitch has been quite slow, and it has been good to bat on. In fact, the balls that we saw misbehave yesterday, the ones that went up and down, has also kind of come down because of the slow nature of the pitch. I also think the roller is playing a role. And because the game started off with the pitch not seeing a lot of sun, the wicket is getting better to bat as the sun is belting down on it. As a team, behind in the game, like we are, we are hopeful we can put a good performance in the first session [on day 5]”— Quotes via PTI
Session break at SCG: We need a break, but don’t quite need coffee because we are all wide awake now aren’t we?
LUNCH: Pant: 73 off 97, Pujara: 41 off 147. Two sessions to go in the match, all four results are possible.
India 202/3 after 69 overs: 36 overs, 108 runs at exactly 3 runs per over. What a brilliant, brilliant session of Test cricket. India are 201 runs away, Australia need 7 (or 6) wickets.
Ashish Magotra: Pujara hitting a four in the last over before lunch. Who would’ve thought!
India 202/3 after 69 overs: Not the last over before lunch because Cummins got through that one quickly enough. But a couple of slower balls negotiated well by Pant. No risky business.
Pat Cummins taking a leaf out of Jasprit Bumrah’s playbook with a slower ball in the last over before lunch. You love to see it.
A century partnership (also not for the first time) at SCG between Pujara and Pant.
India 202/3 after 68 overs: A boundary for Pujara. Again, great use of the feet against Lyon, driven through midwicket. 200 comes up for India.
Ashish Magotra: We are talking about Pant’s strike-rate but he is showing great character in the middle too. He is batting through the pain and took another blow to his fingers from Cummins. Great stuff!
India 197/3 after 67 overs: Every Pat Cummins over without a wicket or a blow on the body feels like a small win for India. Pujara plays out that over.
Pant seen getting more treatment, replays show he was hit on the finger from the previous Cummins over. Left hand again. Geez.
India 197/3 after 66 overs: And now a half chance for Lyon, as Pujara edges one but plays it so softly that it falls short of Smith at slip. Hands on heads. A jumpy Pujara in that over as we near lunch.
India 196/3 after 65 overs: Cummins immediately creates a half chance by inducing an edge from Pant from a rearing delivery that falls short of the fielder. Pant responds with a brilliant cover drive for four.
And we have Pat Cummins on to bowl. Buckle in, folks.
As exciting as all this is (and it indeed is breathtaking Test cricket), a reminder that India are still 215 runs away. That’s a lot.
India 192/3 after 64 overs: That’s a maiden over for Lyon, which included a massive LBW appeal against Pujara. Turning too much.
India 192/3 after 63 overs: Just one run from Lyon’s over but that is followed by a big one for India. Starc is hit for a couple of boundaries by Pant. The first, driven through cover off a big no ball and then, last ball, a powerful pull in front of square. This is thrilling cricket.
India 178/3 after 61 overs: Starc is back and it’s a three-run over. He’s not looked as threatening as the other two main pacers, so that probably mean’s he’ll finish with a five-for.
India 175/3 after 60 overs: Tim Paine has put down two catches off Nathan Lyon’s bowling. The second, in this Lyon over, really should have been taken. Just a faint edge. Australia keeping things interesting at SCG by not taking their chances. Pant has had two lives, first one was on 3 and now on 56
Wait, it’s another change of ends for Lyon. We are losing track of this now.
And now, Lyon has been taken out of the attack from both ends. Green comes on.
India 173/3 after 58 overs: A boundary for Pant off Starc too, through the gully region.
Ashish Magotra: Great adventure being shown by Pant. 50 off 64 balls. But he needs to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Just needs to keep an eye on his shot selection.
HALF CENTURY! RISHABH PANT! From 7 off 36 balls to 50 off 64 balls. Taking on Nathan Lyon from one end of SCG and then the other. Rishabh Pant is making things interesting, as he does. Hit back-to-back sixes at the start of that over from Lyon, one wide of long off and then one over the fielder at long on. This is breathtaking stuff.
India 155/3 after 56 overs: A maiden over from Starc, started by targetting Pujara on his ribs.
Pant on 37 off 61. Pujara on 27 off 93.
Mitch Starc for the first time today.
India 155/3 after 55 overs: Pant comes down the track to Lyon again but twice he doesn’t get to the pitch of the ball and just pushes it back. Top battle again.
Well, there he is again. A change of end for Lyon.
India 155/3 after 54 overs: Interestingly, Labuschagne continues after drinks. Surely Paine cannot see this as a plan?
India 152/3 after 53 overs: Hazlewood cannot quite believe there is no slip when Pant throws his hands at a full ball outside off and the edge goes for four. And Pant brings out the pull again. Not for the first time, a 50-run partnership between Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara at the Sydney Cricket Ground. India 152/3 at the drinks break. How are you feeling, India fans?
India 144/3 after 52 overs: Rishabh Pant’s aggression against Nathan Lyon paying off perhaps? Labuschagne is on to bowl... misunderstanding off first ball, but no run out. And then Pujara hits a four down the ground.
India 138/3 after 51 overs: Another tidy over from Hazlewood....and now we have Labuschagne bowling.
India 138/3 after 50 overs: Another Lyon over, more aggression from Pant. Maybe the plan is to hit him out of the attack so that Australia don’t keep him going from one end. First a cut shot and then another lofted hit down the ground. That was hit very straight, and is away from the fielder at long off.
India 130/3 after 49 overs: Hazlewood stares down at Pujara after he leaves a ball. Pujara starts staring back but then quickly remembers his routine off following the ball being thrown around by the keeper. A batsman’s got to do what he’s got to do. Lovely stuff.
India 128/3 after 48 overs: From 7 off 36, Pant goes down the track for 11 off 37 and then 17 off 38. The first four is followed by the first six off Pant’s innings. Interesting. Lyon won’t really mind this, but those were well-timed shots too from Pant. Not just slogs.
First bowling change... Cummins replaced by Hazlewood a couple of overs back.
India 116/3 after 46 overs: Pant, on 5 off 33, is showing good patience at the moment. Good to see, that he is not following the “play your natural game” cliche.
India 114/3 after 44 overs: A LBW appeal from Australia with Pujara padding up to a ball pitched well outside off...a review shows it was quite close because of the amount of sidespin on it. Umpire’s call anyway but an indication of what’s on offer in this pitch for Lyon.
India 114/3 after 43 overs: Pujara has played the push down ground off Cummins a few times today. He has been bogged down against Cummins a fair bit in this series, so this is a conscious attempt perhaps to keep things moving against the pacer.
India 110/3 after 41 overs: Another testing over by Cummins, the last ball keeping well low but on the fourth stump line so doesn’t bother Pujara. Australia keep creating issues for the batsmen in these first few overs.
India 110/3 after 40 overs: Pant takes on the pull shot for the first time after we saw a little montage of him practising it early on. Not timed at all, but falls safely. Then a dropped catch in the next over but a tough one as Pant gets a healthy edge off Lyon, the deviation is too much for Paine and it goes down.
India 109/3 after 38 overs: A brilliant off-drive by Pujara off Cummins for a four down the ground. Pant, meanwhile, seems to be batting without too much discomfort. Then, another testing over by Lyon with oohs and aahs as Pujara keeps the close in fielders interested.
For those who need a quick recap, Rishabh Pant was struck on the left elbow by Pat Cummins in the first innings and was dismissed not long after. He did not keep wickets in the Australian 2nd innings but is out in the middle to bat at a higher position... perhaps a spanner in the works for Australia’s plans.
WICKET! Not the start India wanted at all. Nathan Lyon comes on to bowl the 2nd over and Ajinkya Rahane is gone, caught sharply at short leg by Wade. And what do we have here, Rishabh Pant in at No 5.
India 99/2 after 35 overs: One over from Pat Cummins out of the way for India. Already a few signs of what’s in store. Pujara takes one on the body, keeps the fielders on the leg side interested. Rahane just playing away from his body. From the other end, Lyon.
Here we go... all set. Read day four recap here.
04.25 am: Hello all and welcome to the live coverage of day five of the third Test. At Sydney Cricket Ground, there is a possibility of an Indian batting collapse and a quick end to this match. Of course, there is. But, there is also a possibility of a fight... a possibility, of India batting through the day. A win seems improbable, not impossible. Realistically, a draw is on the cards if India apply themselves and have some luck go their way. They are bruised and battered, there have been some lows in this series on the field already... but this Monday — Rahul Dravid’s birthday — starts with some hope with Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle.
India have a mountain to climb on day five at Sydney in the third Test, needing another 309 runs to register a win. No team has chased anything close to India’s target of 407 with the highest successful run chase at the Sydney Cricket Ground being 288, by Australia against South Africa in 2006.
At stumps on day four India were 98/2 but the good news for the visitors is that their best two batsmen on foreign soil – Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara are still at the crease.
Indian all-rounder Ashwin Ravichandran said the pitch was getting easier to bat on and a strong first session can lay a platform for match-saving Indian batting performance.
India are handicapped by injuries to Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja with the latter unlikely to bat in the final innings until absolutely necessary.
Australia declared their second innings at tea on day four Sunday, setting India 407 to win the third Test at Sydney.
The hosts went to the break on 312 for six, with Cameron Green out for 84 off the last ball before the break, during which captain Tim Paine called a halt.
Steve Smith scored 81 and Marnus Labuschagne 73 with Ravi Ashwin and Mohammed Saini both taking two wickets each.
India were dismissed for 244 in their first innings in reply to the hosts’ 338.
(With AFP inputs)