Ranchi Test: Marsh, Handscomb deny India 2-1 lead

Posted March 20, 2017

Ranchi: Sometimes even a draw could give a team the feeling of victory and the Australians experienced exactly the same emotions as they hung in to survive a stern test on the fifth and final day of the third Test against India at Ranchi to force a morale boosting draw.

India now trail by 331 runs with 9 wickets in hand.

Tensions threaten to bubble over again in Ranchi when it looked as though Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith were mocking Kohli's injury.

However, Steve Smith's spirited side coasted through the afternoon session without losing a wicket to frustrate India and secure a draw. I'm not sure what happened with Ishant, he wasn't happy overall.

The four-test series is level at 1-1.

Smith had scored exemplary knock of 178 runs (not out) in the first innings to propel the visitors to a strong total of 451 runs.

But it was Handscomb and Marsh's 232-minute resistance on the final day - broken only late in the last session - that proved decisive.

Australia finished on 204/6 with Handscomb and Matthew Wade remaining unbeaten.

"They said something to me as well, I just said "go back and bowl". Trying to pad the delivery without reaching for it, he didn't offer a shot, and Jadeja had the off-stump uprooted leaving Marsh and Handscomb to do the rescue job.

India, however, will also have tremendous belief in their camp after recovering from a tricky position to get themselves to the point where they were hot favourites to win the game. "The cricket balls? I haven't really thought about it", he said.

The final day started with Jadeja and UmeshYadav bowling in tandem, but Australian captain Steven Smith and opener Matt Renshaw put a price tag on their wickets and kept the Indianbowlers at bay. "To see the game out for as long as they did was an outstanding performance", Smith said.

The tourists now have a mountain to climb with the raucous home crowd sensing blood and getting behind their team. "When the ball was new last night, it spun well off the rough".

"It's probably on our side at the moment, but having said that it's one-all and we're playing a decider in Dharamsala".

In the press conference after the end of day's play, India opener Murali Vijay played down the incident - stating that the Indian team are now focused on the match.

On a day when Indians Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha sought to slowly bat Australia into the dirt, the visiting bowlers showed fantastic resilience, refusing to wilt on day four of the third Test in Ranchi. The intent from India in this innings was clear - occupy the crease for as long as possible, no matter how slow the run rate, and slowly sap the spirit of the Australians.