Hanuma Vihari has revealed how he passed his time during the month-long break he needed to recover from the hamstring injury he sustained during the India vs Australia tour. The hero of the historic draw the Indian side pulled off at the SCG earlier this year, Vihari has ensured that come what may in his career, he will be remembered anytime a shaky tail end needs to bat out a match for their country. Having played in such tough and demanding circumstances and come out with a win in the end, it is no surprise that Hanuma Vihari appreciated what was a masterpiece of a tennis match between Dominic Thiem and Nick Kyrgios on Friday.
Visibly in pain due to his damaged hamstring, Hanuma Vihari's 23* off 161 balls, made alongside an equally injured Ravichandran Ashwin, came to define what would be a tremendous series win for India in Australia. Just so, another masterful comeback seems to have captured the 27-year-old's attention over the last day or so. Awaiting his fitness Test, which has been scheduled for Monday, February 15, Vihari has turned to tennis to keep him occupied over the last few weeks.
The allrounder took to Twitter late on Friday to tweet his appreciation for World No. 3 tennis player Dominic Thiem, who overcame a stiff challenge against Nick Kyrgios at the ongoing Australian Open 2021. Thiem, the US Open 2020 champion, won straight-set victories over his first two opponents, M. Kukushkin and D. Koepfer before meeting the Aussie in Round 3. Not one to go down easy, the fiery Kyrgios almost ended the 2020 Australian Open runner-up's 2021 campaign as he took the first two sets, 6-4, 6-4.
Down in the dumps, it took Thiem everything to come back against Kyrgios' bullet-like serves as he rescued his game 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in the last three sets. This nearly impossible return from two-sets to love has earned Thiem high praise, including Vihari's. The Austrian star will go up against Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov in Round 4 as he looks out for his second Grand Slam title.
With in-form Shubman Gill and skipper Virat Kohli out for ducks and the new age wall, Cheteshwar Pujara making just 21 runs, India were going down a slippery slope at 3-86. However, the ship has been stabilised somewhat by Rohit Sharma's 161 and Ajinkya Rahane's 67, leaving India at a decent 300/6 at stumps on Day 1. Opening the batting tomorrow will be Rishabh Pant 33* and Axar Patel 5*.
Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (Vice-captain), KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Rishabh Pant (wicket-keeper), Wriddhiman Saha (wicket-keeper), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur.
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