India’s tour of Australia in 2020-21 is still fresh in the minds of the fans as India created history. For the second time in a row, they defeated Australia in an away Test series. Despite a draw, the Sydney Test will be remembered as one of the best in cricket history.
Chasing a huge 407 to win at the Sydney Cricket Ground, India batters put up an outstanding performance, with the likes of Rishabh Pant, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rohit Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, and Ravichandran Ashwin playing brilliantly to deny Australia what appeared to be a definite victory.
Vihari and Ashwin’s partnership was spectacular, despite both batters having fitness concerns, as they played a major role in the draw for an undefeated stand of 62 runs. Earlier, Pant and Pujara’s 148-run fourth-wicket partnership had put India in a strong position. While Pujara scored 77 runs in 205 balls, Pant scored 97 runs in 118 balls.
Recalling the match, Pant has spoken about his dismissal right before scoring a century. The aggressive player tried for a big shot, with three runs required for his century, but was caught at backward point off Nathan Lyon. Pant said that Pujara began instructing him to avoid taking risky strokes and instead focus on singles and doubles to guarantee he reached his hundred. This confused the batter, resulting in his dismissal.
“‘Rishabh…try to stick. You can work in singles, doubles too. You don’t have to hit a boundary’. I got a little angry that they put me in this double-minded state. Because I like it when I’m very clear in my plans that this is what I want to do. We had built such a good momentum. In my mind, the only thing at that time was ‘damn, what just happened?’ Because if I reached 100 there, it would have been one of my best,” he said in a docuseries named Bandon Mein Tha Dum.
Ajinkya Rahane on the incident
“Pujara from the other end was telling him to slow down. We can score runs later. When any experienced player comes and tells you, ‘Now wait, you’re on 97 and you’re playing well, but now if you play a little sensibly you can make your 100. He was backing his game but unfortunately, he got out,” said the stand-in captain of the series, Ajinkya Rahane.
“When he came in, he was disappointed and angry and he said, ‘Pujara bhai came and reminded me that I was on 97. I wasn’t even aware. Had he not said anything, I would have probably completed my hundred,” Rahane added.