India denied by Aussie grit, third Test ends in draw

Indian bowlers were thwarted by Australia’s perseverance as Steve Smith’s men survived a battle of nerves on Monday to force a draw in the third cricket Test here in Ranchi and keep the series alive.

Starting the day at a nervy 23/2 in reply to India’s 603/9 declared, Australia were 204/6 in 100 overs in their second innings when the two teams decided to end the proceedings.

The visitors managed to hold on thanks largely to Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh’s gritty vigil at the crease.

Handscomb (72 not out) and Marsh (53) combined to share a 124-run fifth-wicket partnership to steer Australia to safety after the cheap dismissal of skipper Steve Smith (21) and Matt Renshaw (15) had given the visitors’ dressing room moments of anxiety.

Marsh was eventually dismissed by India’s bowling star Ravindra Jadeja, who continued his purple patch to finish with figures of 4/54.

Handscomb, on the other hand, played the anchorman role to perfection and remained unbeaten after holding the fort for 200 deliveries.

The Indian bowlers, especially pacer Ishant Sharma (1/30), looked menacing in the pre-lunch session but the Aussies managed to hold their ground in the last two sessions.

The series remained locked at 1-1 setting up a mouth-watering finale in Dharamsala, starting March 25. The hill town would be hosting its maiden Test match.

(Agencies)

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