The talk going into day five was to fight till the end without thinking about the result, said India skipper Ajinkya Rahane after his team pulled off a memorable draw against Australia in the third Test here on Monday. Before Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin batted out the entire evening session to deny the home team, India were even in contention for a win when Rishabh Pant (97) and Cheteshwar Pujara (77) were in the middle.
“Our talk coming this morning was to show character and fight till the end. Not to think about the result. Really happy with the way we fought especially today but also throughout the game,” Rahane said at the post-match presentation. “Even in the first innings when Australia were 200 for 2 and getting them all out for 338 was really good,” he added.
Pant came ahead of Hanuma Vihari at number five, a move that was made keeping the left-right combination in mind, said Rahane. “There are few areas we can improve (ahead of fourth Test) on but special mention to Vihari and Ashwin. The way they batted in the end and showed character was really good to see. Credit to him (Pant) for the way he played,” said the skipper.
Australia skipper Tim Paine rued the dropped chances for which he had only himself to blame. He dropped Pant twice and Vihari once. “I thought we created enough chances to win the game, this one’s a tough one to swallow. Our bowlers were superb, Lyon bowled well. Just that we (especially me) didn’t hold onto our catches,” he said.
“Looking forward to Brisbane now. We didn’t play our best in the last two games, but we were somewhat good with the bat in this Test. There were a few positives for us, our bowlers created plenty of chances.” However, Paine praised the efforts of debutant Will Pucovski and fellow rookie Cameron Green. “I think having two young kids (Pucovski and Green) playing Test cricket, it’s a great thing as they were sensational. I thought Green was fantastic yesterday,” he said referring to his 84.
It was another special performance from Steve Smith who was back among runs with a 131 and 81 in the game. “On day three or four, we felt that a few kept low, few that bounced a bit more. But there was not much of it today. They fought really hard,” said the Australian mainstay.
On his man of the match performance, Smith added: “Always means a lot when you score a hundred for your country. To be able to do that here on my home ground is pretty special. Doesn’t mean a lot now as we didn’t win the game.” “I wanted to be a little bit more aggressive at times, went up and down through the gears throughout my innings, absorbed the pressure when needed to. Not too much else, just watched the ball hard and concentrated well.” Australia have not lost a Test at the Gabba since 1988. The final Test begins from January 15.