England played out a thrilling draw against Australia in the 4th Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) to abolish the hosts’ chances of handing them a whitewash. World’s most experienced No.11 James Anderson alongside bowling partner Stuart Broad played out two tricky overs together to save the match. Upon seeing the developments, former fielding coach of Team India, R Sridhar, was reminded of R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari’s heroics against the same opposition last year.
In the third Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy in 2021, Vihari and Ashwin batted 259 balls, putting on 62 runs for the sixth wicket on the final day to ensure the series scoreline remained 1-1 ahead of the fourth and final Test in Brisbane. What was more astonishing about the partnership was that both batters braved through injuries. While Ashwin had a sore back, Vihari batted through a hamstring injury. After the day’s play, the scans showed he had a grade 2 tear.
A year later, Australia faced a similar result as the English duo of Anderson and Broad battled it out under low light and tough conditions to prevent the team’s chances of suffering a clean sweep.
Chasing a steep target of 388, the visitors found themselves at 270/9 with two overs to play. Courtesy of half-centuries from opener Zak Crawley (77) and all-rounder Ben Stokes (60), the Joe Root-led side, which has been guilty of torrid batting throughout the series, managed to stay in reckoning for a draw.
Steve Smith dismissed Jack Leach in the 99th over, leaving Broad and Anderson to play out one over each from Nathan Lyon and Smith. The pacers couldn’t bowl due to poor light and like Ashwin and Vihari, the England pacers managed to save the day and the game for their side.
Sridhar, while the game was heading to its culmination, tweeted: “”Can’t help but get nostalgic about this situation here at the @scg. @ECB_cricket could do with @ashwinravi99 & @Hanumavihari here,” he wrote, adding a wink emoji.
The 5th and final Test, beginning on January 14, will be played at Bellerive Oval, Hobart.