India skipper Ajinkya Rahane hailed his team’s character on Monday after they clung on for an unlikely draw in the third Test against Australia, saying the result felt like a win.
Few gave India much chance when they began the day at 98/2, having lost openers Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma the previous afternoon and facing one of the world’s leading attacks.
And when Rahane fell without adding to his overnight four in Monday’s second over, the odds were even worse with another 309 runs needed to win. But they battled hard as Rishabh Pant smashed a high-class 97 and the stoic Cheteshwar Pujara ground out 77.
When that pair fell Hanuma Vihari, nursing a hamstring injury, survived 161 balls for 23 runs and Ravi Ashwin, who had treatment on his ribs, made 39.
The pair faced 256 balls and scored just 62 runs, helping steer India to 334/5 and safety at the close. The four-Test series stands at 1-1 ahead of the final game in Brisbane.
“This was as good as winning a Test match,” said Rahane. “When you come abroad and play a match like this, it was really special, as good as a victory.”
What satisfied him most was the fight his team showed. “Our talk coming into this morning was to show character and fight till the end. Not to think about the result,” he said.