Amidst verbal tussles and games of one-upmanship, the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy entered its tipping point at the Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) stadium. Contrary to pre-match expectations, the venue entered the Test fold with a pitch that stayed true for the entire duration of the match.
Upon winning the toss, Australia amassed a formidable total of 451 runs on the back of centuries from skipper Steven Smith and comeback man Glenn Maxwell. However, the hosts still managed to up the ante by scaling the 600-run mark. Armed with a more than handy lead, their bowlers tried hard to drive home the advantage.
However, a determined partnership between Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb kept them at bay. In the end, the Indians had to settle for a drawn encounter. The stalemate here means that the final Test in Dharamsala will be a winner-takes-all clash.
Here’s how each Indian player fared in the third Test in Ranchi.
Cheteshwar Pujara – 9
The fortunes of any Test batting lineup largely revolves around its number three occupant. Pujara followed up his Bengaluru heroics with another resolute knock. He painstakingly compiled 202 from 525 balls, an unprecedented feat in Indian Test history. However, a slightly better scoring-rate could have helped India procure a bigger lead at the end of their first-innings.
Ravindra Jadeja – 9
Runs, wickets and a rocket arm to boot – Jadeja is quite an asset in these conditions. On a flat first-innings track, he sustained his intensity for almost 50 overs and picked up an impressive five-wicket haul. His turbo-charged half-century, as well as twin-wicket burst, set the cat amongst the pigeons on the penultimate day.
Wriddhiman Saha – 9
Saha yet again reiterated his standing as one of India’s safest ever gloveman. Aside from combining with Smith to produce the most hilarious moment of the season, the 32-year old also produced a gritty century. His 199-run partnership was largely instrumental in propelling the hosts to a massive total.
Murali Vijay – 7.5
Returning to the eleven after an injury-enforced absence in Bengaluru, Vijay showed his solidity by building two substantial stands at the top of the order. While an uncharacteristic rush of blood prevented him from reaching three figures, he still marked his 50th Test with a purposeful knock.
KL Rahul – 7
Prior to this series, he was categorised into the feast or famine category. However, Rahul has now registered four fifty-plus scores from five innings with none of those converted into huge knocks. This time though, he cannot begrudge himself as a menacing Pat Cummins spell cut short his stay at 67.
Umesh Yadav – 7
Despite sending down countless overs on unhelpful tracks under the non-relenting heat, Umesh continued to run in with intent and prised out three wickets in the first innings. While he was economical in the second, his captain would have expected a lot more from him.
Ishant Sharma – 5
With not much going for him, Ishant looked to curtail the flow of runs on a fresh batting track in the first two days. But, the Australian batsmen took 70 runs from his 20 overs including 11 boundaries. His place in the eleven should be under considerable threat for the next Test.
Ajinkya Rahane – 4.5
Having to step in for the injured Kohli, Rahane’s leadership ability was placed under the scanner. After a lacklustre end to the opening day, he came in with specific plans and was able to do a reasonable job on the field. At a time when Pujara was going strong, the right-hander’s inexplicable attempt at an upper-cut left a lot to be desired.
Karun Nair – 4.5
Perhaps, Nair has been faltering under the gargantuan weight of expectations raised by his triple ton in the Chennai Test against England. In this one, he got off to a decent start before a lapse in concentration became his undoing.
Ravichandran Ashwin – 4
Not in adequate form or fitness, Ashwin was rather unimaginative in almost every stage of the match. Negative lines around the pads and spread out fields did not contribute much to the team’s cause in the first innings. To make matters worse, his lengths on the final day were all over the place.
Considering the standards that he has set for himself, the off-spinner would want to forget this outing.
Virat Kohli – 3.5
Kohli’s form has nose-dived sharply towards the end of a profitable home season. Although he had to contend with a shoulder strain in Ranchi, the 28-year old won’t be happy at the manner of his dismissal. He played down the wrong line and edged a straightforward delivery to his counterpart. His persistence with pacers on the final day also raised a few eyebrows.