The stage is set for the final Test between #india and Australia at Dharamsala starting from March 25 as India can end the season on a winning note or Australia can create an historical series win. The four match Test series is locked at 1-1. At #Ranchi, day five looked like an entertaining prospect and the people who had come to see some pulsating cricket between the bat and ball did not leave the stadium disappointed. Australia scored 204-6 at the draw of the stumps having taken a lead of 52 runs. Shaun Marsh and Handscomb added 124 runs for the fifth wicket for Australia and they ensured that 374 balls were consumed and made sure that India's quest for victory was halted. Marsh made 53 and Handscomb remained unbeaten on 72. Pujara was named the man of the match for his brilliant double century. Jadega finished the match with nine wickets for India and he took four #wickets in the second innings.
India took two wickets in the first session
The Indian game plan was simple. They wanted wickets and they also wanted to ensure that Australia did not take a huge lead and put pressure back on India. The team started with Jadega and Umesh. Umesh was not his usual firing self and that created some problems for India. As a result Ishant was bought in. Ishant bowled really tight and made sure that Australia were not given easy options. Renshaw was removed by a fiery spell from Ishanth. Renshaw had pulled away when Ishant was steaming in to bowl; Ishant threw the ball towards the batsmen at anger and gave Renshaw a mouthful. That brought the sleeping crowd behind Ishant and the crowd noise became too hot for Renshaw to handle. He lost his wicket dead plumb to Ishant and it was a fiery one over spell that lifted Indian mood. Australian looked for major rearguard action from their captain Steve Smith was disappointed as he was castled by Jadega. That give India hope as they went to lunch with Australia reeling at 83 for the loss of four wickets, needing 69 more runs to avoid an innings defeat at Ranchi. Smith shouldered arms to a delivery that was pitched outside leg stump and the captain did not recover for the spin or the straight one and the off stump was cart wheeled and gave hope for an Indian win.
India came out after lunch searching for wickets but was disappointed
India were looking to take wickets after lunch and Handscomb and Marsh took the team to safety with just three runs short of first innings deficit at tea. Australia had reached 149 runs for the loss of four wickets and India was getting closer to take new ball. Handscomb was dropped by Karun Nair in what can be termed as a real difficult chance. Had that been taken, the story would have been very different. Handscomb had made just six runs at that time. Marsh survived a stumping chance in the first over after tea and that also was another turning point that went against India. Marsh and Maxwell departed in quick succession when seven over’s of play were remaining. The lead for Australia at that time was 38 runs. India was left with no time to really think of an improbable win at that time and Australia was breathing a sigh of relief.
India will have to take the positive out of this test when they go to Dharamsala and that is the batting performance. India needs to pick up their fielding to get things over the rope against Australia in the fourth and final deciding test.