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Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh’s dogged resistance earned Australia a draw in the third of the four match Test series at Ranchi. Australia were in a sticky situation when they started the day as they were two wickets down with 23 runs on the board.
They looked to be in even deeper trouble in the first session when Matt Renshaw and Steve Smith were dismissed and Australia were four wickets down for 63 runs. But then Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb blocked and ducked away to completely dissipate any chances India had at winning the match.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann had said it would be a tough ask for his team to negotiate the Indian attack on the final day in Ranchi. However, Marsh and Handscomb stood up to the task and defied the odds to earn a hard fought draw. It was a monumental effort by Steve Smith and his team as they survived day five on a pitch which offered considerable assistance to the bowlers.
The duo batted out as many as 62 overs and spent more than 200 minutes at the crease. Marsh used his feet brilliantly as he displayed a class performance with the willow. His innings drew applause even from the Indian captain Virat Kohli. He was finally dismissed for 53 but that was not before he had consumed 197 deliveries and put Australia out of danger. Handcomb batted stoically and earned himself a hard fought fifty, and remained unbeaten when the final delivery was bowled.
Here are a few reactions to the day’s play:
Have already got it wrong a couple of times in this series…Pune and now, Ranchi. Well played, Australia 🇦🇺
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) 20 March 2017
Magnificent fight by Australia! Love ya, @phandscomb54! 🤙🏽🤙🏽🤙🏽🤙🏽
— KP (@KP24) 20 March 2017
Great fight today boys. Serious ticker and character. Good tough cricket. #straya
— Mitch Starc (@mstarc56) 20 March 2017
Congrats to the Aussies on a wonderful fighting draw. I really think the Aussies can now win this series as Dharamsala will suit their style
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) 20 March 2017
Great effort from Australia to save this one. But this will be remembered as the Pujara Test Match.#IndvAus
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) 20 March 2017
The teams now travel to Dharamsala where the final Test is set to be played.