Hanuma Vihari’s rearguard action on Monday in Sydney with a torn hamstring may have put on hold his Test career — he is likely to be ruled out of the fourth and final Test — but it has certainly put him on a high pedestal and vindicated the faith regular skipper Virat Kohli reposed in him before the series.
Kohli had said in a chat with Steve Smith before the series that Vihari was one player he was looking forward to during the Test series. The regular India skipper carries him overseas for the lower middle-order. More often than not, Vihari turns up some gritty knocks here and there. There could be a reason for Kohli’s liking for him and his grit.
The two overcame the same ordeal as youngsters. Kohli lost his father during a Ranji Trophy game when he was 18; Vihari lost his father when he was around 10. Kohli continued to play that Ranji game against Karnataka despite his father’s death in 2006. Vihari, too, returned on the third day of his father’s death to play a school final.
“He is very gritty. He turned up on the third day after his father’s death to play the school final and scored 80-odd runs. That was the determination he has right from his younger days. His mother has backed him to the hilt, surviving on a pension of his late father,” says his childhood coach John Manoj. “That was his first show of grit.”
The former right-handed Hyderabad batsman was a non-performer in the ongoing series until Monday, not just with the bat but also on the field as he dropped a sitter on the fourth morning of the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground to provide Marnus Labuschagne a life.
But Monday’s performance virtually on one leg — he faced 161 deliveries for just 23 and was the slowest ever in Test history to get to double digit — was deemed by stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane as more important than the Andhra batsman’s century against the West Indies at Kingston last year.
“I thought his knock was more special than his hundred, the way he batted after he got injured…there was pressure and the way he managed his batting — his injury especially — it was really special to see,” said Rahane after the match.
Vihari is not known to budge in face of challenges. He doesn’t have the flamboyant shots of any of players he is fighting for the No.6 spot — Ravindra Jadeja and Rishabh Pant — but he plays within his limitations. IANS
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HOSTS WEREN’T AGGRESSIVE ENOUGH, SAYS PONTING
BRISBANE: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting admitted he is a “bit disappointed” with how the hosts performed on day three of the fourth Test against India, saying that they allowed visitors’ batsmen to be “way too comfortable at the crease”. He said, “I was a bit disappointed with the way the Australians went about it, to be honest. I don’t think they were aggressive enough, didn’t bowl enough short balls. They let the Indian batsmen be way too comfortable at the crease… They almost bowled the way those batsmen would have wanted them to bowl. It wasn’t until we saw a bit of a barrage from Starc and even when Shardul got out (bowled by Pat Cummins), it was no surprise it was a ball after a bouncer. I don’t think the Aussies were anywhere near aggressive enough.”
AUSSIE SKIPPER TIM PAINE GETS TROLLED BADLY FOR DRS GAFFES
BRISBANE: Australia made a few bizarre review calls on the third day of the fourth Test against India which has led to captain Tim Paine coping with some criticism on social media. Paine had decided to review decisions for catches off Mayank Agarwal and later Navdeep Saini, both of which turned out to have missed the bat by a fair distance. In the 49th over, Agarwal missed a flick shot off Pat Cummins and the ball hit his thigh pads before flying into Paine’s gloves. Both the bowler and wicketkeeper appealed and after the umpire shook his head, Paine went for the DRS. The next incident came in the 103rd over which was also bowled by Cummins.
TEAM INDIA’S COURAGE CAN BE DESCRIBED AS ‘DABANNG’: SEHWAG
BRISBANE: Former India opener Virender Sehwag on Sunday lauded the courage shown by the Ajinkya Rahane-led side in the fourth and final Test against Australia. “Gabba the Dhaba for these two guys. If there is one word to describe the courage of this Indian team, it’s Dabanng. So daring and brave,” Sehwag said in an Instagram post. Former India batsman V.V.S. Laxman also praised the brave effort of the two young batsman and tweeted: “Congrats Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur on your maiden Test ‘50s. Loved the fight, technique and will power you both exhibited.” The partnership between Sundar and Thakur was the highest seventh-wicket partnership for India at The Gabba. Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar had earlier held the record when they stitched together a 58-run stand for the seventh wicket in 1991.
OUR PLAN WAS TO HANG IN THERE TO TIRE AUSTRALIA BOWLERS: THAKUR
BRISBANE: India’s Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar on Sunday kept calm and ignored the on-field chatter to frustrate a tiring Australian bowling line-up to add 123 for the seventh wicket and reduce the first-innings deficit in the fourth and final Test at the Gabba. “They were trying to have a conversation with me but I wasn’t answering them. Once or twice I answered them in one word but they were sort of normal questions. Even if they tried to sledge me, I just ignored it and kept on playing,” said Thakur after making 67 in the first-innings. “We weren’t looking at the scoreboard. The idea was to spend some time there. We knew that their bowlers were tiring and we thought it was a matter of one hour. So if we hung in there for one more hour then probably we would be on top,” he added.
SURE, I WILL GET A BIG SCORE: SUNDAR TO DAD BEFORE GABBA INNINGS
NEW DELHI: While fans are going gaga over Washington Sundar making a half-century on Sunday, his father is upset for not getting a Test century. Sundar scored 62 off 144 balls and shared a 123-run seventh wicket partnership with Shardul Thakur. “I am disappointed he did not get a 100. When Siraj came, he should have hit fours and sixes. He is capable of that. He should have gone for sixes. He could have gone for pulls and big hits. Perhaps, he thought of trying to come close to Australia’s total as the lead was very less,” father M. Sundar told IANS from Chennai. “I speak to him in Australia every day. I told him last evening whenever you get a chance, get a big score. He said, ‘sure I will’.”
Thailand Open: Marin, Axelsen win singles titles
Spanish Olympic champion Carolina Marin and Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen won the women’s and men’s singles titles, respectively, at the Thailand Open Super 1000 badminton tournament in Bangkok on Sunday.
Marin, 27, beat Chinese Taipei’s top seed Tai Tzu Ying in straight games in an ominous display of form as she prepares to defend her Olympic title later in the year in Tokyo. Tai was limited to a single digit score in the first game and while she fought hard in the second, Marin ended up winning the match 21-9, 21-16.
Axelsen, meanwhile, recorded his second consecutive tournament win with a 21-14, 21-14 win over Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long. Axelsen had earlier won the All England Open Championship in March.
Indonesia’s Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu beat Thailand’s Jongkolphan Kititharakul and Rawinda Prajongjai 21-15, 21-12 to win the women’s doubles final.
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