March 23, 2017

India could have won the Ranchi Test

20 March 2017, 10:51 | Darnell Patrick

Murali Vijay was very cautious scoring unbeaten 42 in his 50th Test cricket at stumps on Day 2

Murali Vijay was very cautious scoring unbeaten 42 in his 50th Test cricket at stumps on Day 2

Smith admitted to a "brain fade" which drew strong criticism from India captain Virat Kohli, resulting in considerable acrimony between the sides.

Umesh Yadav (16), dropped early at mid-on off Josh Hazlewood (1-103), added 54 runs with Ravindra Jadeja (54 not out) for the ninth wicket.

With the draw, the four-match Test series remains levelled at 1-1.

Ishant Sharma was sacked up in the morning session and let the verbals fly a bit, but once Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh began their grind, things quietened down.

"The way Marsh and Handscomb batted today was fantastic. Yesterday two wickets, we thought we had a good chance, but credit to the two batsmen, they batted really well". Pujara has 2007 runs in this 2016-17 season, all in India.

Pujara had eked out a marathon 525-ball 202 on day three to share a crucial 199-run stand with Wriddhiman Saha (117) for the seventh wicket.

A match that Australia entered with more momentum than the Himalayan Queen rattling down the narrow-gauge track from Shimla's hill station, but which slowly dissipated and was ultimately reversed across four incendiary days at Chinnaswamy Stadium. I can no longer remember which one of us is Matt Renshaw, are we still out here playing cricket, or is this just a description of a bad Test match that a sports psychologist is telling us about while we're hypnotised to prepare us for India?

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The decisions Kohli took could also have been a result of his shoulder injury which could have been more serious than apprehended.

On Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins, both of whom made their comebacks in this Test and contributed significantly, Smith said he was proud of them. That's what we want to be.resilient. "I'm really happy that he performed in a big pressure match in a hard situation and put us in a position to have a shot at winning the game", Kohli added.

"He's looked pretty good without going on to make a score for us". But to much astonishment, Kohli brought Jadeja into the attack only after 11 overs post lunch as Ashwin looked innocuous on the flat deck where pacers too were rendered ineffective.

Who takes away the lead in this match is something we will have to wait and watch. "Another game in Dharamsala to go, and we're ready for it". "That's how I would explain it and no issues with that".

"The partnership between Saha and Pujara is the best I have seen".

At least until the final Test, set to decide the series which now rests delicately at one win each, begins in the Himalayan foothills postcard setting of Dharamsala on Saturday.

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