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Feature

In Case You Missed It: Insults, injuries and incendiary Tests

Our best content from the week gone by

Deepti Unni
16-Jan-2021
R Ashwin embraces Hanuma Vihari after the match ended in a draw, Australia vs India, 3rd Test, Sydney, 5th day, January 11, 2021

Ashwin and Vihari's 42.4-over stand was an exercise in pain, patience and perseverance  •  AFP via Getty Images

We're two weeks into the new year and it's already served up enough drama on the cricket front to see us through the rest of it. In Australia a will-they-won't-they Brisbane Test finally kicked off at the Gabba, but not before India forced the third Test at the SCG to a nail-biting draw. Their batsmen and bowlers powered through pain, stood up to alleged racist taunts, fought a mounting pile of injuries, and put together a heroic lower-order stand. In Sri Lanka there was a batting collapse by the home team so spectacular, their own batting coach panned them. Can catch up on all the action in our round-up.
R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari's epic stand seals remarkable SCG draw
With half the original squad lost to injuries, India pulled off a draw for the ages on the back of the heroic resistance of Vihari and Ashwin, who, battling injuries of their own, lasted 42.4 overs after Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant had lifted India with a century partnership. It was Test cricket at its best, said Sidharth Monga, as the bruised and abused Indian team made their own luck at the SCG. Is Hanuma Vihari the overseas specialist India needs? Shashank Kishore asked. India also had help along the way, as Tim Paine dropped key catches on the final morning, once after mouthing off to Ashwin - a performance the Australian captain said he was "bitterly disappointed" in, on both counts.
Meanwhile India have come into the final test with the dressing room now resembling a hospital ward as the list of the walking wounded grows, but they will be hoping against hope nevertheless, says Monga. The Gabba match also marks a milestone for Nathan Lyon - it's his 100th Test and he's four wickets away from his 400th - Andrew McGlashan traces his rise, from groundsman to Australia's premier spinner.
Sri Lanka's 135 all out: anatomy of a collapse
England got the better of Sri Lanka, who were bowled out for 135 on the first day of the first Test, in Galle. What might have been going on inside Sri Lanka's dressing room? Andrew Fidel Fernando sets the scene. Sri Lanka, coming off injuries and a series loss in South Africa, are at their lowest ebb, with batting coach Grant Flower calling it "the worst batting I've seen". Will they be able to recoup in the next few days?
Dream Team: Does Mohammad Ashraful make it to our Bangladesh all-time white-ball XI?
Our panelists and avowed cricket tragics Mohammad Isam, Issa Farooque and Zulquarnain Islam find remarkable consensus on the latest episode of Dream Team.
Watch: 25 Questions with Trent Boult: Who would win a staring contest between Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard?
The New Zealand and Mumbai Indians fast bowler takes tough questions on his team-mates
Who is the only first-class cricketer to win a Nobel in Literature?
And which Test cricket venue do the characters in Hitchhiker's Guide travel to? Take our quiz and find out where you stand on the intersection of cricket and literature.
Left-arm revolutionaries
Mohammad Isam has the story of how one genre of bowling came to dominate Bangladesh cricket, and of the men who made it happen. Isam also explores if Bangladesh could be looking at the start of a new pace bowling revolution. There's talent, but is sustained growth possible?
In which Test was the wicketkeeper the first bowler to take an opposition wicket?
And in which one-day international did brothers make their debuts for opposing sides? You asked and Steven Lynch answered.
Tamim Iqbal: 'The shots Tendulkar played were breathtakingly good'
In our series Wish I'd Done That, the Bangladesh opener looks back 22 years to a classic ODI innings he wishes he had played.

Deepti Unni is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo