Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb played out 373 balls and put on a partnership of 124 runs to gift Australia an unlikely but valuable draw on the fifth day of the third Test in Ranchi. The series, thus, remains 1-1 with the action shifting to Dharamsala on Saturday for the fourth and final Test.
Marsh and Handscomb’s epic stand came just when Australia were staring down the barrel. Resuming at 23/2, Australia lost Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw after an hour’s play in the first session and plunged to 63/4. It then only seemed a matter of time before India would plunge in and take out Australia for the win.
But Marsh and Handscomb showed immense reserves of patience to grind out the tough period. The second session was wicketless and both of them got fifties. Marsh was finally dismissed after Australia had taken the lead for a 197-ball 53. He had played his part though. India got some semblance of a moral victory as they got Maxwell’s wicket at the end.
Finally with just a few more minutes to go, Virat Kohli and Australia walked off with the draw. It was a fine performance from Australia who became the first team to bat out a draw since New Zealand in 2010-’11.
Here’s how the day panned out:
4.51 pm: And that’s it from us here. Hope you enjoyed the live coverage. Great Test, brilliant batting from Smith and Pujara. But we’ll leave you with the funniest moment in the match:
4.41 pm: Presentation time:
Steve Smith: Proud of the boys. They played beautifully. It was important to score big in the first innings. 450 was not enough. It was a long two days. The boys dug really deep, proud of that. Massive game in Dharamsala proud of that.
Virat Kohli: We didn’t expect ourselves to be 150 ahead. These guys put us in a position to win the match. [On Pujara] Best I’ve seen him play. When you play one format for the country, you want to make it count. Saha really stood up and did his job. Delighted for him. Don’t think the ball was hard enough to bite off the surface. It’s Test cricket, conditions don’t often go your way. Jadeja is unbelievable, never seen anyone bowl so economically for so long ever.
The Player of the Match is Cheteshwar Pujara for his astounding 202.
Pujara: Never thought I’d face so many balls. Do get tempted to hit over the top but you have to see the match situation. Had to restrict myself at one point. We didn’t get a wicket between lunch and tea, that’s where the game changed. You do get fatigued but I have been working hard on my fitness and watching my diet and hoping to recover for the big Test coming up.
4.25 pm: Ian Gould gesturing to Kohli to finish things because he wants a smoke break! The things you see on a cricket field. But Kohli finally agrees after that over. No fifer for Jadeja. It’s a draw. Handscomb gets a lot of handshakes. Finishes on 72 unbeaten. Australia finish on 204/6.
This is only the second draw in this long home season. England played out the first draw in Rajkot.
But Harsha didn’t like what he saw at the end.
4.18 pm: Double bluff by Kohli? Think he made Handscomb think Jadeja was bowling the last over of the match. So Handscomb didn’t take the runs on offer to shield Jadeja. But the over finishes and Kohli walks over. Eighteen minutes to go but Steve Smith can declare in eight minutes and finish the match. Wade drives a boundary through the covers. 200 up for Australia. 200/6.
4.15 pm: When will the two captains call it off? Maybe after Jadeja gets his fifth? India are talking a lot but they should be a little disappointed that they couldn’t win this Test. Wade gets a boundary. Australia 196/6, lead by 44. Around 20 mins to go.
4.05 pm: Jadeja wants a fifer. Big appeal but there was a thick inside edge. The umpires had a word with Maxwell after his exchange with Kohli. The only real spice now is the Maxwell vs India/Kohli battle. India would dearly love to dismiss him for a bit of a moral victory. Ashwin gets his man. Bat-pad catch off the carrom ball. Australia 190/6, lead by 38, seven overs to go and less than half-an hour
Wouldn’t India have loved him out there right now.
4.00 pm: A little more excitement. A few lbw shouts. And Maxwell and Kohli exchanging a few words. Quite natural, considering what’s been happening in this Test. Australia 188/5, lead by 36 with 9 minimum overs left.
Hear, hear, Anuj. Someone needed to say that.
Now Australia talking a little bit of the snake back.
3.54 pm: Finally! Jadeja strikes and it’s Marsh. Straightforward bat-pad catch to Murali Vijay and Marsh leaves for a 197-ball 53., the 124-run partnership ends. What an important innings. Australia 187/5.
3.53 pm: In terms of deliveries faced, this has become the second-largest partnership this series. Nothing to report. This has been a Test match of grind. Smith and Maxwell in Australia’s first innings, Pujara, Vijay and Saha in India’s first innings and Shaun Marsh and Handscomb in Australia’s second. Handscomb pulls Ishant away for a boundary. Australia 187/4, lead by 35, 11 minimum overs and around 42 minutes left.
Who will Indian fans turn on if Australia draw this? We’ve already murmurs about Pujara’s strike rate but you can be sure they’ll turn on poor Ash.
And lo and behold, blaming Pujara begins.
3.45 pm: Start of the last hour. One hour or 15 overs, whichever happens earlier. Jadeja gets one to turn away. Ishant with his 10th over next over. He’s looking to get the yorker or in-swinger but no luck. Clipped away for a single. Australia 182/4, lead by 30, 13 minimum overs left.
It’s been that kind of day for Virat Kohli.
3.31 pm: Still Jadeja and Ashwin. Things getting flatter now. But don’t take anything away from these two. Partnership is 117 now. Marsh finally gets his half century with a classy cover drive. Australia 180/4, lead by 28, 11 overs to go. And it’s drinks.
Snarky, part 2.
3.27 pm: Marsh has been on 48 for a while now. Runs coming in singles now for Australia. Draw on the anvil. Australia 174/4, lead by 22, 13 overs left.
3.22 pm: Jadeja’s 16th maiden of the day. Ashwin raps it on Marsh’s pads, protracted appeal, not out and they review. It’s umpires call on impact and another review is gone. Australia 172/4, lead by 20, 15 overs left.
3.15 pm: Jadeja delivers another maiden. Just 108 more balls for Australia to play out now. New ball taken and Ashwin will continue with it. Marsh picks up a single. Australia 171/4, lead by 19.
Now it’s just 17, but you get the picture.
3.10 pm: Handscomb growing in confidence. Rocks back and capitalises on a shorter ball from Jadeja for a boundary. Ashwin delivers a maiden next over. Australia 170/4, lead by 18.
3.05 pm: The partnership has crossed 100. Jadeja bowled around the wicket, Handscomb padded him away and Jadeja was down like a terrier, appealing for a wicket. Nothing granted though and no reviews for India. Ashwin delivers a maiden. Australia 166/4, lead by 14.
Umm, no, that’s not really how it happens.
So, draw looking the most likely now.
But why? He’s not even lost the series!
2.55 pm: Jadeja pinging away. Australia manage to sneak two. The partnership is nearing 100. Umesh sprays it down leg and Handscomb tucks it behind and gets a fifty. Very well done. Umesh though has been on the wickets, continously. It just needs one mistake. Goes for the big swinger and is again on leg and Handscomb tucks it away for two. Australia 165/4, lead by 13.
2.49 pm: Umesh Yadav continues from over the wicket to Shaun Marsh. The batsman moves into the forties with a clip for a boundary. Australia move into the lead. 157/4, lead by five.
2.45 pm: Marsh takes a single off Jadeja and scores are level. Australia 152/4.
That was quite a close lbw call.
2.42 pm: Umesh Yadav at the other end and Virat reviews. Two reds but it’s umpire’s call on impact. Quite close. India lose both their reviews. But two close calls to encourage India. And even Mahendra Singh Dhoni is in the house. Umesh’s ball keeps even low but Handscomb manages to get bat on it at the last moment. Marsh takes a single last ball and Australia are 151/4, trail by only one run.
2.33 pm: We’re off after tea. Last two hours of this enthralling Test match. What will happen? Ashwin beats Marsh in flight and he over-balances. Saha whips off the bails but Marsh is well in. But encouragement for Ashwin there. Australia 149/4, trail by 3.
2.10 pm: Tea. Take a bow, Shaun Marsh. Take a bow, Peter Handscomb. Their 86-run partnership has saved Australia. A wicketless session on Day 5. Exceptional batting. They’ll need to complete it though. Australia 149/4, trail by 3.
2.05 pm: Jadeja bowls yet another maiden. Fourteen maidens in 28 overs so far. Marsh clips Ashwin away for a single. Ashwin manages to rap Handscomb on his pads but the batsman had come down the ground. Ashwin been plugging away over and over again but for no reward. Australia 146/4, trail by 6.
Indian supporters be feeling like...
2.02 pm: Jadeja has an lbw shout but not given and didn’t really look out. Handscomb is just picking Ashwin away on the on-side. Partnership has crossed 80. One finally jumps away and evades Marsh’s edge. Australia 145/4, trail by 7.
The thing is, even if Australia get the lead, they’ll need to keep India out bowling as long as possible. You don’t want to give Kohli a chase, however improbable.
1.55 pm: Jadeja gets a change of end. A couple of deliveries but Australia still get two off the over. Ashwin is back and Handscomb works him away as the deficit is down to single figures. Ashwin remains wicketless. Australia 143/4, trail by 9. Fifteen minutes left till tea, can they make it a wicketless session?
1.50 pm: Ashwin back in the attack and he concedes 5 runs off his first ball. KL Rahul has thrown it way over Saha for four ovethrows. KL Rahul shakes his head. Australia 139/4, trail by 13.
Seriously, don’t watch cricket.
Think it’s here.
1.45 pm: Jadeja back around the wicket. Still not troubling Australia. Ishant is keeping a good line but Marsh is just about keeping him out. Can one nip through? Not as yet. Australia 134/4, trail by 18.
1.36 pm: Jadeja pulls things back with a maiden. Ashwin is taken off after that over and Ishant gets the ball back. Much more disciplined. Australia 132/4, trail by 20.
That would be criminal, if it happens, no matter the result.
That’s looking a little too far ahead, no, Angles?
1.27 pm: Marsh shimmies down the wicket and gets a boundary off Jadeja. Wow, has anyone got a boundary off him this innings? Next over, Handscomb takes Ashwin on the full and directs the ball to the mid-wicket boundary for his first boundary. Goes short and Handscomb cuts him away off the back foot. Goes down the ground and hits him for another four. 14 runs off that Ashwin over. Trail by just 21. Australia 131/4.
1.22 pm: Ashwin isn’t causing a lot of issues. Bowled a full toss to Marsh but he just got it for a single. Last ball was a leg-spinner. Four runs in that over. Seems like the flood after the four straight maidens. Australia 113/4, trail by 39.
1.17 pm: Jadeja goes back to over the wicket. Handscomb has played more than 70 balls for his 13. Finally a run comes after four straight maidens. Australia 109/4, trail by 43.
So much naagin talk this series.
1.11 pm: Drinks. Australia 108/4. The last four overs have been maidens. Australia playing out time but Jadeja and Ashwin are putting on asphyxiating pressure. Still trail by 44 runs.
Haa! Good one.
1.08 pm: Three maidens in a row from Ashwin and Jadeja. Remember Australia are still 44 runs behind. Australia 108/4.
Look at some of the names in that list!
Somehow, this looks like the perfect prediction at this moment:
1.04 pm: Jadeja is back. Bowls an inevitable maiden. Ashwin from the other end and finally the spinners are bowling in tandem. Jadeja goes over the wicket next over. Switches back around after three balls. India trying too much? Australia 108/4, trail by 44.
Gotta watch it again, don’t we?
12.55 pm: Maiden over from Ashwin. Yadav has a half-hearted LBW shout which Kohli reviews. It was miles outside leg-stump. What a review, says Ravi Shastri in the comms box. Even Kohli is embarrassed and he sheepishly raises his hand to Umesh. Australia 106/4, trail by 46.
12.46 pm: Marsh looking more and more confident. Comes down the ground and drives Ashwin straight for a boundary. Australia go past 100. Shaun Marsh takes one on his body and gets the deficit below 50. Two more runs done. Great bouncer from Umesh but Handscomb is up to the challenge. Australia 105/4, trail by 47.
Oooh, I see the jinx you put there, Arjun!
That is a good point, but remember, Umesh and Ishant have provided key breakthroughs at time. Maybe, Virat doesn’t want Australia to settle into a rhythm?
12.39 pm: Some close calls but Handscomb negotiates another Ashwin over. Marsh was loose to one wide outside off but is pretty patient otherwise. Handscomb blocks two out, including one good inswinging yorker. Australia 97/4, trail by 55.
Marsh. The guy who Australia loves to hate.
Methinks Maxwell has fulfilled his quota of heroics in the first innings.
In case you missed it, Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka in Colombo to ensure that their two-Test series finished 1-1. It was a historic win for Bangladesh in their 100th Test and only their fourth away Test win. Here’s that winning moment:
12.30 pm: Ashwin looking closer and closer to the wicket. Almost gets a sharp bat-pad chance off Handscomb but Karun Nair can’t hold. Keeping the pressure on. Umesh Yadav targeting the stumps here. Overpitches one and Marsh times it down the ground for four. Australia 96/4, trail by 56.
But isn’t this supposed to be Test cricket at its best?
12.24 pm: Umesh Yadav rattles through a maiden. Keeping the pressure. Australia 90/4, still trail by 62.
I think the more interesting stat would be, which left-hander has the highest average against Ashwin? Anyone want to check?
12.20 pm: Jadeja has finally been taken off. Ashwin almost gets a bat-pad off Handscomb to leg-slip. A near miss. Marsh works it away on the leg for two. Australia getting runs is key. Australia 90/4, trail by 62.
India would probably want to watch this over and over again.
12.15 pm: We’re back. Just a matter of time for Virat to go 2-1 up? We will see. Umesh concedes three in that over. Australia 86/4, trail by 66.
Smith’s wicket was the turning point but one over before that, India were fired up just when Australia thought they had got to safety.
11.30 am: Handscomb showing Smith how he should have done it. Takes a good stride and pads it away. Nice cover-drive off the last ball. That’s lunch. Australia 83/4 at lunch, trail by 69 runs.
11.25 am: Jadeja is bowling so well. Can he get one more before lunch? Almost got one to slip through there to Handscomb. Ashwin finally gets a bowl today. Has a close lbw shout off just the second ball. Australia 78/4.
No, sorry Steve. Not really.
A little word for Steve Smith. I said before, it’s unfair for him to shoulder the burden of this Australian batting lineup. Someone else needs to put their hand up. For India, Pujara and Rahane and Rahul have done. Except for Maxwell, no one else really has for Australia.
11.22 am: As usual, Kohli the conductor gets the crowd going. Ishant is getting great reverse swing going, the ball zoning in on Marsh’s stumps. Four byes conceded as well. Australia 73/4.
11.15 am: Handscomb is padding Jadeja away much better than what Smith tried. Australia are under the pump and it’s a pity, after the good work they did in the first hour. Australia 65/4.
That smells a little...sour?
11.10 am: Renshaw pulling away probably started it all. It got India up and firing. Ishant went full and got Renshaw. It disrupted Smith’s concentration and Jadeja took advantage. Small moments can change Tests. This is one of them. Ishant bowls another good to Shaun Marsh. Australia 64/4.
Jadeja figure watch: 15-9-12-3.
11.05 am: That’s Steve Smith’s second brain-fade this series. He just left that ball go. Pujara was getting a bigger stride in to O’Keefe the other day but Smith didn’t count on Jadeja’s capacity to get extra turn. And in the process, he’s probably given this series away and this match. Australia 63/4.
11.03 am: GONE! Steve Smith has done a Kohli. He’s left a ball which has pitched on leg-stump and turned and hit off-stump. Steve Smith goes for 21. Australia 63/4.
11.01 am: What an over this has been from Ishant. The next ball after Renshaw’s wicket, he gets an outside edge from Shaun Marsh for four. The next one, he gets it to jag sharply in and hit Shaun Marsh on the midriff. Wow. Someone turned a switch on somewhere? Australia 63/3.
10.58 am: Jadeja gets a jaffa to Smith. Turn, drift and beats the outside edge. Smith though patiently plays out the rest of the deliveries. Jadeja has figures of 14-7-12-2 now. Bit of argy-bargy here as Ishant runs in and Renshaw bails out. A furious Ishant throws the ball at the keeper and words are exchanged. The second ball didn’t come up enough. Ian Gould and Virat Kohli share a laugh. But Ishant strikes finally with one which came in and kept low. Finally, a wicket. Australia 59/3.
10.48 am: Oh, oh. That took off from Jadeja and almost took Renshaw’s gloves.One took an inside edge. Matter of time now? Ishant’s taking a lot of time to get through his overs. The complete opposite of Jadeja. Australia 59/2, 93 runs behind.
10.40 am: Up in the commentary box, Matt Hayden is again talking about Pujara and Sahara letting the match drift in pursuit of their respective double-century and century milestones. Ishant bowling at a much shorter length and Renshaw gets a single away. Ishant bowls his second no-ball of the day and Australia’s 50 comes up. Ishant goes middle and off and Smith strokes it away for a boundary. Australia 54/2.
Should Ashwin be brought in?
10.32 am: Jadeja goes around the wicket to Smith and he just pads it away. One hour over and Australia haven’t lost a wicket yet. Well done...so far. Australia 48/2.
Epic is a word which is thrown around a lot. But this one was really epic.
10.30 am: Renshaw gamely keeps Jadeja out. The 20-year-old left-hander really has showed great temperament in this entire series. Smith takes the single of the second-last ball. Ishant goes round the wicket to Renshaw who blocks it out. Australia 48/2.
10.17 am: Jadeja really settling into a rhythm here. Almost gets a bat-pad off Renshaw. The more Australia keep on letting the left-hander face him, the more you think something’s going to happen. Ishant gets a go here and persists on the outside off-stump line. Patience game here? Smith gets one through gully and gets two. Australia 43/2.
Yet, they can’t afford to try and get runs. If a wicket falls..
Warner truly has been a big disappointment this tour.
10.09 am: But just as we said, Jadeja has pulled his length back and is troubling Renshaw. On a great length, not allow Renshaw to go forward. Beats the outside edge a few times. Umesh just keeping it outside off and Smith happy to let it go. Australia 40/2.
That was some match. That was the Karun Nair triple century match.
These are those subtle intricacies about Test cricket which make it the best game in the world (Ok, maybe, I’m a little biased)
10.02 am: Jadeja not causing a lot of problems when it comes to Steve Smith. Defensive maiden. And it may be rubbing off on Renshaw at the other end, who’s looking more and more settled as we cross the half-hour mark. Australia 38/2.
9.57 am: Good batting from Renshaw. He’s getting a good stride and neutralising any turn Jadeja can get. He can’t have a brainfade like the first innings. Umesh keeps it out teasing on a length. Smith leaves four, almost nicks the fifth. Gets a single off the last ball. Australia 37/2.
It’s a little sad that the burden is falling on Smith every innings. He deserves better.
Well....yes...but, Umesh Yadav can’t really tell Jadeja to bowl slower, right?
9.49 am: Smith and Renshaw manage to keep Jadeja out for another over. Jadeja did manage to get Renshaw’s edge though but it was wide and short of slip. Smith looks steady and settled against Umesh. One run in the last two overs. Australia 34/2.
Haa! They’re soulmates, aren’t they?
Jadeja’s miserliness has been the stuff of legend.
9.45 am: Umesh Yadav is trying to work over Steve Smith like how he got him out in Bengaluru 2nd Innings. Trying to angle it in with the ball keeping low. So far Smith has kept him out. Nice sharp snorter to Renshaw last ball. Australia 33/2.
We share your sentiments, Mr Balaji.
9.38 am: Steve Smith creams a boundary through covers off Umesh Yadav. Looking very positive out there. Jadeja beats Renshaw on the outside edge next over. Australia 31/2.
Here’s how the pitch looks on Day 5. Plenty of rough for Jadeja to exploit outside the left-hander’s off-stump.
Can’t fault WinViz, can we?
9.35 am: And we’re off. Steve Smith looks solid as ever as he plays out Jadeja’s unfinished over from the last day. Renshaw blocks one out. Australia 24/2.
Whatever be the result of this match, Australia have unearthed a pace attack for the ages.
9.00 am: For four days, the Ranchi pitch seemed placid. Australia and India racked up a 1053 runs. And then in the dying light of the fourth day, Ravindra Jadeja got the ball. And then the pitch looked unplayable. David Warner and then Nathan Lyon, the nightwatchman, were dismissed by two jaffas. Australia are 23/2 and they’re 129 runs behind. This is going to be a good old-fashioned grind.
It was the Cheteshwar Pujara show yesterday, who, along with Wriddhiman Saha, batted Australia out of this Test match,
Ravindra Jadeja will be key today. He had fun with the bat yesterday:
And here’s Gaurav Sethi on how Pujara must finally get the love and backing from the Indian team that he justly deserves.