Resolute fifties from Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh ensured Australia held on for a draw in the third Test against India on Ranchi. The result means the teams will go into the fourth Test with the series still 1-1.
Australia began the day with a deficit of 152, and although they did not lose a wicket in the first hour of play, India struck before lunch to have the visitors reeling at 63 for 4. The wickets included the big one of opposition skipper Steven Smith. But, Handscomb (72 not out) and Marsh (53) added 124 for the fifth wicket.
Australia reached 204 for 6 when the teams decided to call off play. The Aussies were responding to India’s massive first-innings score of 603-9 declared, Ravindra Jadeja picked up four wickets to add to his five in the first. He finished with match figures of 9-178.
The pair of Handscomb and Marsh kept the Indian bowlers at bat for 232 minutes. Jadeja eventually got Marsh and Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed first-innings centurion Glenn Maxwell for two. However, Handscomb and Matthew Wade played out the remaining few overs as the match ended in a draw.
Jadeja earlier dismissed Smith for 21 as the batsman left one and had his off-stump uprooted. This was after fast bowler Ishant Sharma had trapped Matt Renshaw lbw for 15 following an altercation between the two players. After the quite first hour, things seemed to be happening for the Indians.
Smith had scored an unbeaten 178 in the first innings, but the pressure got to him as he tried to pad away a turning delivery from Jadeja. It spun from outside leg to peg back the Aussie skipper’s off-stump
The teams will now head to Dharamsala for the fourth and final match, which starts on March 25.
--By A Cricket Correspondent