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An Exciting Finish At The SCG

Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar walk off after securing a draw for India
Ajinkya Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar walk off after securing a draw for India
©REUTERS / Action Images

The flat-bed pitch at the Sydney Cricket Ground probably didn’t deserve an eventual winner, although it wasn’t for a lack of trying.

Australia set a target of 349 runs after declaring at their overnight score. India did entertain thoughts of going for an improbable chase, before finally shutting up shop at 252 for seven. The hosts won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-0.

"It would have been nice to get the win today. I thought 90 overs with them having a little go at us would be a good chance to win this game but it wasn’t to be," said Australian captain Steve Smith on Saturday.

"I think the wicket didn’t break up quite as much as I thought it would. There wasn’t much up and down movement with balls on the stumps.

"I think with Nathan Lyon bowling into the rough, there were a few that hit the gloves and went straight into the ground.

"On a different day those pop up and you get wickets. But the boys toiled really hard today and we are disappointed not to get the result in the end," he added.

It has been a tough series for Australia from an emotional point of view with the loss of Phillip Hughes in late November and the whole rescheduling thereafter. Michael Clarke too just played the first Test and mid-series Smith was appointed as the new captain after he pulled out injured.  

"We can be extremely proud of this series win," said Smith. "From the first game in Adelaide the boys showed a lot of heart to go out there and play the way we did.

"To win that first Test was extremely big for us. There have been some tough moments throughout the series but the way the boys have held themselves has been terrific.

"We set out at the start to win the series and we did that 2-0 and we are extremely satisfied with our results.

"I've really enjoyed it. I've had a great time,” he added, talking about his captaincy experience.

"All the boys have been terrific around the group. A lot of the senior players have been helping me out.

"The boys have done everything I've asked of them. They've worked their backsides off every day and I can't be prouder of them for the way they've performed throughout this series."

Like Smith, Virat Kohli too became Indian captain during this series. And despite the series loss, it has been a great series for Kohli on the personal front as he scored more than 700 runs in four Tests, the highest for an Indian batsman against Australia in one series. This came on the back of a disastrous tour to England in the summer for the captain.

"I used to expect a lot out of myself and unnecessary put pressure on myself. Now I believe in myself. I don’t tell myself to go out there and get a century, I rather believe in myself that I will go out there and do well," he said.

"I think there is a slight difference in that which one needs to realise as in what works for an individual.

"For me I take the success and failure the same way so I really don’t get into what people are expecting of me," Kohli said.

"This has been a great series for me personally. The crowd hasn’t been disrespectful. Last time around I had a couple of incidents but I think this time around I know they’ve booed me but they’ve liked the way the team has played.

"They like it when I go out there and I get a bit annoyed with the opposition. It’s been enjoyable to have a challenge of overcoming the whole Australian crowd and 11 Australian players who badly want to irritate me or get me out.

"It’s been a challenge but it’s something that I’ve enjoyed and it’s brought out the best from me," he added.

Murali Vijay got a half-century before forties from Kohli himself and Ajinkya Rahane made it appear as if India would go after an improbable chase in the last session. But a few wickets fell quickly and they had to settle for a draw.

"The first intention was to go for the target. But I think we didn’t get the kind of momentum we got in Adelaide because of the way Australia bowled.

"We couldn’t keep up with the asking rate and it eventually went up to six and a half in the end. When Vijay got a half century, we started feeling it might be possible if we do have wickets in hand in the last hour.

"But then he got out, yet me and Ajinkya played some shots and we felt we could cash in on the situation. But then I got out and we had to hang in there. Credit to Australia for bowling the way they did throughout the innings and made it very difficult for us," he said.

"It was a feeling where you have forced the opposition to earn their victory. We pulled them till the end on three occasions in this series, two were losses and one was a draw which could have gone either way. I am really proud of the way we have played in this series," he added.

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