Ranchi: Australia have passed a searching examination of their mettle by overcoming India’s spin masters on Ranchi’s so called craters of doom to secure a backs to the wall draw in the third Test.
On Monday, the visitor rode on a 124-run partnership between Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh to dash India’s hopes of a victory.
India had wrested the initiative on the second day of the Test as they restricted Australia to a score of 451 runs. That error put Cheteshwar Pujara’s enormous concentration in perspective, and left Australia with a mountain to climb to escape Ranchi with a draw. There was no need to take risks and the Indian duo did precisely the same. However, Vijay could not keep hold of his wicket for long and was stumped by Wade trying to hit a boundary on O’Keefe’s ball. The significance of this double century can also be assessed from the fact that it is also the first three-figure score by a home batsman in a series where they were supposed to dominate.
Jadeja would look to exploit the footmarks, something that has given him a fair amount of success as he backed up his fifer in the first innings with 2/6 in 3.2 overs o Sunday. With more than 10 hours at the crease, Pujara’s marathon innings has been a model of true and pure patience today.
In the morning session, Vijay hit a gutsy 82 before undoing his hard work by being stumped off O’Keefe at the stroke of lunch. And when he drove Cummins to the fence to reach his 50, it was time for that trademark wielding of the sword that we are accustomed to seeing.
The first target is 152, but realistically Australia has to bat out the day, it’s as simple, and as hard, as that. These two have now added 117-runs for the fifth wicket and with close to 15 overs remaining, only a miracle from the Indian bowlers can save this Test from being drawn.
India opened with spin at both ends on the bone-dry deck and Warner was lucky a leading edge carried mid-off in the third over of the innings.
Virat Kohli injury: While Kohli came out to field in the second innings, that shoulder is still bothering him – he only stood in the slips, to avoid having to dive or throw.
He also bowled nightwatchman Nathan Lyon (2) in the last over of the day. Jadeja had pitched the ball in the rough and it did take a sharp turn. Don’t forget R Ashwin.