Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin showed great fighting spirit to eke out a well-deserved draw for India in the Sydney Test. While Vihari had hurt his hamstring early in his innings and was not able to run, Ashwin battled back pain to help India bat out 131 overs for a draw. There were similar heroics by Indian cricketers when they battled injury, fatigue, and fitness for the team's cause. Cricwizz takes a look.
Anil Kumble bowling with a broken jaw
In the 2002 Antigua Test, Anil Kumble was hit on the jaw while batting by a delivery from West Indian Merv Dillon. However, he continued to bat on even as he spat out blood. It turned out to be a broken jaw and was ruled out of the game. However, seeing India struggling to bowl out West Indies, Kumble came out to bowl, with his jaw heavily strapped. He bowled 14 consecutive overs and took the wicket of Brian Lara, and thus created a legacy of fighting for the team's cause at all costs.
Laxman's 73 not out against Australia at Mohali in 2010
Laxman has always troubled Australia, making his highest Test score of 281 against them at Kolkata in 2001. He was again their nemesis in the Mohali Test in 2010. However, Laxman was not at his best fitness, after being troubled by back spasms. He came out to bat as the last batsman in the first innings.
But with the match on the line in the second innings, as India were reduced to 76/5 chasing 216 for a win, Laxman came out in the middle after taking painkillers. He stitched a match-winning stand of 81 runs for the ninth wicket with Ishant Sharma, before taking India home by 1 wicket in the company of last batsman Pragyan Ojha. Laxman struck 79-ball 73 not out to steer India to a memorable win.
Kapil and Co battle fitness to win the Melbourne Test in 1981
India were trailing 0-1 going into the third Test at Melbourne and needed to win it to level the series. But all looked lost when India could set Australia a target of just 143 runs, with Kapil Dev pulling a thigh muscle, Shivlal Yadav unable to take the field due to an injury, and Dilip Doshi suffering a fractured toe.
The only fit bowler was Karsan Ghavri who opened the bowling in the fourth innings with part-timer Sandeep Patil. Ghavri took 2 wickets, and Doshi, bowling with a fractured toe, took 1 wicket to reduce Australia to 24/3 at the end of the fourth day. On the fifth day, Kapil took pain-killing injections to bag a five-wicket haul, and bowl out Australia for 83 runs to win the match by 59 runs.
Sachin's 136 against Pakistan at Chennai in 1999
India were reduced to 6/2 chasing 271 for a win in the Chennai Test against Pakistan in 1999. And then walked in Sachin Tendulkar, and he played the innings of his life. He battled a severe back injury and a top-class Pakistan bowling line-up comprising Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Saqlain Mushtaq to struck a masterful 136, but was dismissed when 17 runs were needed for a win.
India tail just could not withstand the pressure, and the team was bowled out for 258 to lose the match by 12 runs. Tendulkar could not even receive his man of the match trophy due to the injury, but reports claim he was too disheartened with the loss to receive the award in person.
Cover photo: Hanuma Vihari and R Ashwin
Cover photo credit: Twitter