Australia vs India 3rd Test Day 5: Match ends as a draw; Australia maintain unassailable 2-0 lead

This was the first Test in 17 years to end as a draw at the MCG

This was the first Test in 17 years to end as a draw at the MCG

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Despite Australia throwing everything at them, India managed to stand firm and see out the final day of the third Test in Melbourne to ensure that they didn’t find themselves trailing 3-0 in the ongoing Test series.

However, even though the third Test ended as a draw, Australia have already won the series since they hold on to an unassailable 2-0 lead heading into the fourth and final Test in Sydney.

Starting out the day on 261/7, Australia batsman Shaun Marsh and Ryan Harris converted their 27-run partnership into a 69-run partnership despite a few rain delays.

The partnership came to an end when Harris was caught behind off the bowling of Mohammed Shami for 21.

With Marsh on course to make his century, tragedy struck as he was run out by Virat Kohli just one agonising run shy of the landmark.

Marsh’s brilliant knock of 99 came off 215 balls and included 11 boundaries and two sixes.

Marsh struck 11 boundaries and two sixes during his knock of 99

Marsh struck 11 boundaries and two sixes during his knock of 99

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Just an over after Marsh was dismissed, Australia stand-in captain Steven Smith decided to declare on 318/9, which set India a target of 384 to win.

Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav picked up two wickets apiece.

Chasing 384 to win, India got off to an awful start as opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan was given out lbw off the bowling of Harris for a duck.

Debutant Lokesh Rahul only made one run before he was caught by Shane Watson at first slip off the bowling of Mitchell Johnson.

Murali Vijay scored 11 runs before he was given out lbw off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane stabilised the innings with an 85-run partnership, during which Kohli brought up his half-century, before he was caught by debutant Joe Burns at square leg off the bowling of Harris.

Kohli’s excellent knock of 54 came off 99 balls and included seven boundaries.

Kohli's sublime form with the bat continued

Kohli’s sublime form with the bat continued

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Cheteshwar Pujara mustered 21 runs before he was clean bowled by Johnson.

Rahane ended up making 48 runs before he was caught by Marsh at midwicket off the bowling of Hazlewood.

With the threat of yet another collapse looming over the horizon, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin kept the Baggy Greens at bay with an unbeaten 32-run partnership.

With four overs left in the day, Smith shocked the fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) when he shook Dhoni’s hand and agreed to end the match as a draw.

Dhoni finished on 24 off 39 balls, which included four boundaries, while Ashwin remained undefeated on eight.

Johnson, Harris and Hazlewood claimed two wickets each.

Dhoni was pleased his side managed to outlast the Australian pace attack, and said: “Quite happy with the draw. Could have ended in a mess on the last day. The bowlers really bowled well, especially in the second innings. I don’t really want to comment on the (declaration). If your batsman reaches 90, then you have to wait for him. We have found ways to trouble ourselves. We have got good partnerships in all Tests, but we play loose shots. If you are playing well, then you need to carry the momentum forward.

“It was a bit slow in the last hour and you feel the pressure. It was a fantastic display (Rahane-Kohli stand), especially because both of them looked to attack the bowling. Secondly, they both made sure they converted it to a big hundred. We need a bit of time, it’s new side, not everyone is experienced. Over the last six months, they [have been] getting better. It is a matter of time before we start delivering. We don’t have an all-rounder, but I am happy with the way the bowlers bowled.”

Speaking about his decision to end the match as a draw, Smith said: “It was a tough five days on a pretty flat wicket. Couple of drop catches in the field cost us dear. India played well, but we have got the series. The wicket did not deteriorate much and they had some strong batting, so we wanted to take it away from them. It was about keeping the series safe, rather than Shaun’s hundred. We came close here but it wasn’t enough. We are looking forward to making it 3-0 in Sydney. Rhino was outstanding with the bat and with the ball, he helped us build up a strong total in the first innings.”

Harris was named Man of the Match for scoring a career-best 74 in the first innings and taking six wickets as well.

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