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Australia defy India bowlers to secure draw

Mon, 20th, Mar 2017 |
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India vs Australia 3rd Test, day 5

The third Test of the 2016-17 Border-Gavaskar, at Ranchi, ended in a draw on Monday evening after Australia reached 204/6 in their second innings, guided home by Shaun Marsh (53) and an unbeaten Peter Handscomb (72*).

India entered the day five of the third Test against Australia in a position of advantage with the match in their grip, it was a challenge for Australia to survive the fifth day in Ranchi. They were still 129 runs behind India with eight wickets in hand and the oh-so-talented Ravindra Jadeja firing and already having picked up two wickets. But the visitors too had their top batsmen still to come on the field. Day 5 promised a lot of quality action of Test cricket.

"Going to have to come up with a plan to combat Jadeja but we've worked on that and you'll probably see it tomorrow I would think" Darren Lehmann, Australia's coach said yesterday

Australia once again were pinning their hopes on the captain Steve Smith who has six centuries against India in seven Test matches.

Virat Kohli was back on the field. India continued with Umesh's pace from one end and Jadeja's spin from the other. Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw played them out, then kept Ishant Sharma out for a while. After 90 minutes of dogged crease occupation, Renshaw was dismissed by Ishant Sharma and Steve Smith by Jadeja in the course of 4 deliveries. Australia went to lunch at 83/4, 69 runs still behind India.

Now the big question was, could Australia play out two sessions with six wickets in hand?

Players were back in the middle for the second session of Day 5, Handscomb was on strike and Umesh Yadav began the session.

Review! Is what Kohli had asked for after Shaun Marsh left a ball from Jadeja alone, but the ball seemed to have hit his pad on the way. Oh! It was pitching outside leg stump so it was declared to be not out, India lost a review and Captain Kohli just chuckled at the incident.

So the second session had proved to be another exciting one, with 66 runs that Australia scored and they moved to 149 for the loss of four wickets. Two wickets were lost in the second session and Australia trailed by just three runs.

With the final session underway in Ranchi, Ashwin bowled to Shaun Marsh on strike.

Ashwin bowled a brilliant over, but Marsh survived it. India asked for a Review after Umesh Yadav had hit handscomb on the pads. The batsman was saved by the umpire's call on the original ruling.

Scores were level in Ranchi now, Australia were 152 for the loss of four wickets and they were all set to take the lead in the second innings.

India now needed special efforts to first bowl out Australia and then chase whatever total they set. Not much time remained in the match now. We were about one hour and thirty minutes from stumps.

FIFTY! For Handscomb with a boundary, well fought fifty under pressure, along with a hundred run partnership of Handscomb-Marsh. Soon followed by a fifty for Shaun Marsh.

WICKET! Shaun Marsh was caught at short leg, and with that Renshaws and Marsh's partnership of 124 runs in 62.1 overs came to and end with little time left with india to bowl out Australia. Jadeja got another wicket and Glenn Maxwell was the new man in, and soon Maxwell was caught by Ashwin, with that India picked up the sixth Australian wicket.

With this Jadeja hauled a total of 4 wickets in today's match, Ashwin 1 and Ishant Sharma 1.

At a slow run rate of 204/6 in 100.00 overs ended the third Test of this series. Virat Kohli shook hands with Peter Handscomb and that was it. Australia pulled off an exceptional effort to draw this match. The series remains tied 1-1 with final test to be played in Dharamsala from March 24th, 2017.

At the presentation:

Australian Skipper Steve Smith - "It was nervous. A pretty good test. Proud of the way the boys stuck it out. That's what we want to be. Resilient. They played beautifully today. They didn't look like they would get out for a while. It was crucial for us, at such an important time.450 was not enough to win this match. Maxwell was sensational. That's the way we want him to play. Pat Cummins, in his first game in a very long time, he bowled beautifully. Not too often you spend 210 overs in the field. It was a long two days. The boys really dug deep. I am really proud. Massive game in Dharamsala, can't wait to get there."

Indian Skipper Virat Kohli said - "We got ourselves into a very good position,". "Losing the toss here was never easy. Not being able to take the field and watching the opposition get big runs was difficult. But we batted beautifully. KL and M Vijay, but the partnership between Saha and Pujara is the best I have seen.I don't know about the lot of balls. Jadeja is unbelievable. He is gun in the field too. I have never seen anyone bowl so economically for so long ever"He added. "Dharamsala, no different from what I have done here. We have given our best here, and as long as we keep doing that, I am sure we will get ourselves into winning positions."

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