AUSTRALIA SALVAGE DRAW
Marsh, Handscomb help avoid defeat in third Test
GRITTY half-centuries from Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh enabled Australia to hold out for a draw in the third Test against India yesterday, leaving the four-match series tantalisingly poised at 1-1.
Australia, who began their second innings 152 runs adrift of the hosts, were in deep trouble after being reduced to 63-4 in Ranchi before Handscomb (72 not out) and Marsh (53) put on 124 for the fifth wicket.
The tourists eventually reached 204 for 6 at stumps on the fifth and final day, after the hosts made a mammoth 603-9 declared in their first innings.
India's Ravindra Jadeja claimed four wickets to return with overall match figures of 9178 at India's newest Test venue.
But it was Cheteshwar Pujara (202) and Wriddhiman Saha (117) who were the main stars of the match for India after their 199run seventh-wicket stand on Sunday.
The left-right batting combine of Handscomb and Marsh outmanoeuvered the Indian bowlers during their 232-minute resistance which was broken late in the final session.
Jadeja dismissed Marsh and his fellow spinner Ravichandran Ashwin then claimed the wicket of first innings centurion Glenn Maxwell for two, giving India brief hope of a dramatic final twist in the tale.
But a composed Handscomb played out the remaining few overs with Wade for company as Australia avoided defeat in their 800th Test.
The two teams now head to Dharamsala for the fourth and final match starting March 25. AFP
Australia’s Peter Handscomb (right) congratulates teammate Shaun Marsh on scoring fifty runs during the fifth day of their third Test yesterday.