Despite starting the day in a strong fashion, India were not able to break down the Australian batting line-up as the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy ended in a stalemate at the JSCA International Stadium Complex in Ranchi. After ending day 4 in spectacular fashion, Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw began the fightback for the Kangaroos until Ishant Sharma struck after 20 overs into the day’s play by dismissing Renshaw LBW.
Shortly after that, it was a “brain fade” by Smith that led to him being bowled by Jadeja. India were on top going into lunch with Australia 71 runs behind with only 6 wickets in hand. However, Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb, two batsmen who did not have a great series so far put on a match-saving partnership of 124 runs to deny India the victory. They batted throughout the 2nd session of play and did not allow the spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja to trouble them.
Marsh was dismissed with a little over half an hour remaining but it did not make a difference as the Kangaroos saw out the day and ended with 204 runs on the board with the loss of six wickets.
Cheteshwar Pujara was named the man of the match for his magnificent double-century in the first innings of the match. The two sides will have all to play for in the final Test of the series which begins in Dharamsala on 25th March.
Shaun Marsh on his match saving innings
It was a challenging day. To get that result is a fantastic effort from the group. I was trying to stick to my plans. Really happy. You are trying not to think about the rough. Just play the ball. Coming with the result we wanted, looking forward to Dharamsala. Always liked playing against spin. Always tried to run down the wicket. Nice to bring those skills here against the best team in the world in their conditions. After three Tests to be 1-1 is great, against such a talented team in their own conditions.
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. It was important to score a big first-innings run, we left ourselves a bit short there. 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 and it’s a massive game in Dharamsala, can't wait to get there.
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. Rahul and Vijay started off well, but the partnership between Saha and Pujara is the best I have seen. We didn't expect a 150 run lead. Yesterday with two wickets, we thought we had a good chance, but credit to the two batsmen, they batted really well. The guys want to push the barrier, their physical limits, and their mental toughness.
Credit to Australia for playing out the draw, but we played ourselves into a position where we could win. When you play only one format, you are always extra determined to make it count. Pujara is very motivated, and he is really good at test batting. This is the best I have watched him bat. As for Saha, he did it in West Indies, he did it in Calcutta as well, and here under pressure, he really stood up. You feel happy for him because he is such a wonderful guy.
Always smiling, always happy for whoever achieves anything. I don't think it was the wicket, it was the ball, soft, not doing much. I don't know about a lot of the balls. Jadeja is unbelievable. He is a gun in the field too. I have never seen anyone bowl so economically for so long ever. Dharamsala will be no different from what we 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.
Here is how the cricketing fraternity reacted to the draw:
Renowned cricket expert Harsha Bhogle:
Hope the season ends with a contest between rival bats,balls & minds.The contest of lips & words is poorer drama.Don't need cricket for that— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 20, 2017
The pitch confounded everybody. Now, everything to play for in Dharamsala. Couldn't ask for a prettier place to end the season— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 20, 2017
Former England captain Michael Vaughan:
Former Australian batsman Dean Jones:
Brilliant performance by Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh today against a brilliant Indian bowling team. #greatTest— Dean Jones (@ProfDeano) March 20, 2017
Now for a
Former Indian batsman and cricket expert Aakash Chopra:
A draw is as good as a win for Australia in this game. Well played, Handscomb and Marsh. #INDvAUS— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) March 20, 2017
Renowned cricket commentator Ayaz Memon:
Fantastic effort by Aus. Hard-fought draw also helps regain fair bit of psychological advantage lost in Bengaluru. Of big help in 4th Test— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) March 20, 2017
Australian pacer Mitchell Starc: