© Getty Images
Australia would rue the fact that they batted through the entire morning session in Day Five © Getty Images


By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Dec 30, 2014

India managed to hold on for a draw on Day Five of the third Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. With four overs to go, India and Australia called for a draw with India on 174 for six.

Chasing 384 to win in two sessions, it was clear that India would play for a draw. And, once they lost three early wickets, they had no other choice. KL Rahul was sent in at No. 3 despite his nervy start in the first innings. He managed only a single and was caught behind when he top-edged a pull off Mitchell Johnson. Murali Vijay got a rough one as Josh Hazlewood had him leg-before to a ball angling down the leg-side.

Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane batted with the same spirit and gritted it out. Kohli was involved in another skirmish with the Australians after the duel with Mitchell Johnson in the first innings. This time, he exchanged a few words with Brad Haddin. All that was a culmination of his famous comments in the post match conference on Day Three, when he said he had no respect for Johnson.

Kohli and Rahane continued to battle on and took India safely into tea with the former getting a fifty. Post tea, Kohli was out first ball. Pujara played solidly for 21 before he was castled by Johnson and Rahane mistimed a pull on 48. India were in trouble with over 15 overs to go. MS Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin were left to hold fort. Luckily for India, they batted with temperance and saw India through without much trouble.

India will look back and rue on some crucial moments. At the end of Day One, Australia were 259 for five after a good battle between bat and ball. Instead, they allowed Australia to prosper the next day as the tail wagged again. The tactic to bowl short did not work at all. Brad Haddin worked his way to a fifty. Ryan Harris also smashed 74 and Steven Smith dazzled with 192 as Australia put up 530.

The next day, India were 147 for three when Rahane and Kohli came together. The duo put up a remarkable 262-run stand that game India a serious chance of challenging Australia’s total and even perhaps taking a lead. However, India lost their last seven wickets for 56 and were bundled out for 465 on Day Four, handing Australia a 65-run lead.

The last two days faced a few rain interruptions, but Australia soldiered on. India did pick up wickets at regular intervals but Chris Rogers held firm to begin with. And Shaun Marsh ensured that they took their lead past 350 on Day Five. In fact, Australia may have delayed the declaration as they batted through the morning session. It seemed as if they were waiting for Marsh’s ton and it was quite anti-climatic when he was run-out for 99. Australia continued and only declared when it became clear that lunch woul be delayed by half an hour as the last pair batted. Australia may rue that as they could have pushed for victory had they had more time.

Brief scores:

Australia 530 (Chris Rogers 57, Shane Watson 52, Steven Smith 192, Ryan Harris 74, Brad Haddin 55; Umesh Yadav 3 for 130, Mohammed Shami 4 for 138, Ravichandran Ashwin 3 for 134) and 318 for 9 decl. (David Warner 40, Chris Rogers 69, Shaun Marsh 99; Ravichandran Ashwin 2 for 75, Mohammed Shami 2 for 92, Ishant Sharma 2 for 49, Umesh Yadav 2 for 89) drew with India 465 (Murali Vijay 68, Virat Kohli 169, Ajinkya Rahane 147; Ryan Harris 4 for 70, Mitchell Johnson 3 for 135, Nathan Lyon 2 for 108) and 174 for 6 (Virat Kohli 54, Ajinkya Rahane 48; Ryan Harris 2 for 30, Mitchell Johnson 2 for 38, Josh Hazlewood 2 for 40).

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(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)