March 23, 2017

Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb help Australia draw third Test against India

20 March 2017, 09:03 | Pamela Mathis

Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb help Australia draw third Test against India

Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb help Australia draw third Test against India

Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh collaborated for nearly four hours to frustrate the hosts with a dour fifth wicket stand of 124 runs.

But Renshaw (15 off 84 balls) finally fell to Sharma LBW before Smith (21 off 68 balls) also departed, handing Jadeja (3/22) his third wicket of the innings.

9/178 Jadeja's figures - his second-best match figures. Handscomb survived a scare on six when his flick to short leg was almost caught by Karun Nair.

The fourth Test begins in Dharamsala on Saturday, with the series victory up for grabs for both sides. Not being able to take the field and watching the opposition get big runs was hard.

India resumed 91 runs shy of Australia's first-innings but declared with a healthy advantage at 603 for nine, and then struck twice to leave the tourists wobbling.

Ravindra Jadeja (2/6) got a couple of deliveries to land on the rough and breach through the defences of David Warner (14) and Nathan Lyon (2).

"When you bowl 210 overs, I don't think that's happened too often, and India do that well - they bat long periods of time here in India", Australian coach Darren Lehmann said. Matt Renshaw was unbeaten on 7 runs. Pujara and Saha batted exceptionally well.

Australia's comeback paceman Pat Cummins claimed four wickets, including that of Virat Kohli (6) who has managed just 46 runs in the series.

"They stuck to their plans throughout and never shied away from it". He tried to hook a short ball over the wicketkeeper and caught behind by Wade.

Virat Kohli injury: While Kohli came out to field in the second innings, that shoulder is still bothering him - he only stood in the slips, to avoid having to dive or throw.

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As Pujara and Saha put Australia's attack to the sword on a benign pitch at JSCA Stadium, an understandably frustrated Hazlewood upped his verbal game to unsettle the set batsmen.

Smith didn't hold back his praise for Glenn Maxwell who marked his return to the Test team with a brilliant century.

Going into the final day, Australia were two wickets down (23/2) down and trailing by 152 runs, thanks to the heroics with the bat by Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha.

Given absolutely no chance, with many predicting a 4-0 whitewash in India's favour, Australia won the Pune Test, before giving India a really hard match in Bengaluru and then pulling off a stunning draw in Ranchi. In the process, both scored fifties and added 124 runs for the fifth wicket in 374 deliveries.

Cummins' express pace in only his second Test gave the Indian batsmen pause for thought but he could not make another breakthrough as Vijay (42no) and Cheteshwar Pujara (10no) survived to the close.

Kohli said after the draw was sealed: "We got ourselves into a very good position".

It was on his advice that Smith gestured to the Australian dressing room in Bengaluru whether to review a leg-before decision. "Whenever Jadeja came to bowl, he picked up a wicket or two every three-four overs". His footwork against Lyon and Steve O'Keefe was exemplary. Smith had scored an important century to keep the Australian first innings together and his departure early was a setback for his young team.

Skipper Steve Smith will join Renshaw (7 not out) at the crease on day five and one expects that partnership will have to be a long one if Australia is to save itself.

The International Cricket Council took no action against Smith but the two countries' boards nevertheless felt the need to meet to resolve the issue.

"Everyone has to take responsibility equally on the field and our players want to do that", Kohli said in his post-match press conference.

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