After the departure of set batsmen Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara, it came down upon middle-order batsman Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin to bat it out all day against Australia on the fifth and final day of third Test match played in Sydney.
While Ashwin braved several blows from the Aussie quicks, Vihari, on the other hand, was dealing with a hamstring tear. Despite all the odds, the duo stayed cemented to the pitch till the very last ball of the day was delivered, taking India to a memorable draw– one that would be remembered for ages.
Ashwin faced 128 balls for his unbeaten 39, while Vihari stuck around for 161 deliveries scoring an invaluable 23 for the side. As members of the cricket fraternity and fans hailed the Indian squad for pulling off a historic draw despite the mounting injuries in the dressing room, Union Minister Babul Supriyo wasn’t very kind on Vihari’s “slow-paced” innings.
Taking to Twitter, Supriyo lashed out at the batsman and wrote: “Playing 109 balls to score 7 !That is atrocious to say the least•Hanuma Bihari has not only killed any Chance for India to achieve a historic win but has also murdered Cricket.. not keeping win an option, even if remotely, is criminal. PS: I know that I know nothing abt cricket”
The tweet was widely panned by cricket lovers who had witnessed Test cricket at its purest form.
Playing 109 balls to score 7 !That is atrocious to say the least•Hanuma Bihari has not only killed any Chance for India to achieve a historic win but has also murdered Cricket.. not keeping win an option, even if remotely, is criminal. PS: I know that I know nothing abt cricket
— Babul Supriyo (@SuPriyoBabul) January 11, 2021
Responding to the criticism, Vihari also took to microblogging site only to remind Supriyo about the typo in his tweet.
“*Hanuma Vihari,” the cricketer wrote.
His partner on the final day Ashwin had a hearty laugh.
The cricketer’s perfect clap back found Twitter’s support.
You played an absolute brilliant innings champ.Every Indian proud of your dedication towards cricket also.Wishing u a speedy recovery my bro.. Waiting for ur comeback
— (@Vickyztweets) January 13, 2021
King Hanuma Vihari sahab gave a befitting reply here.
— Subham (@subhsays) January 13, 2021
Hanuma Vihari gave some life lessons on field that day, and now this one off it!1. Whatever good you do in life, haters will be haters.2. Answer them in style – with bat, on one leg, with spirit and sometimes, just your name! https://t.co/RQZ47CaZPd
— ZENIA D’CUNHA (@ZENIADCUNHA) January 13, 2021
Not just Supriyo but BCCI president Rajeev Shukla too found himself in the Twitterstorm after he seemed unhappy with the result. “Actually the middle order could have performed little better and we would have won the match,” Shukla wrote on his Twitter page.
Actually the middle order could have performed little better and we would have won the match. @BCCI
— Rajeev Shukla (@ShuklaRajiv) January 11, 2021
Chasing a mammoth 407 to win the Test, Ashwin (39) and Vihari (23) managed to bat out the entirety of the third session and ensured that the Test series remained tied at 1-1 going into the final Test in Brisbane. They had their shares of luck along the way thanks to a few dropped catches and the occasional edge not carrying to the nearby fielders, but no one could argue they didn’t deserve the result.