Marsh and Handscomb - Australia's saviours
By Krunal Gandhi, MyCricketHighlights Cricket Writer
3rd Test: India vs Australia at JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi, Mar 16 - Mar 20, 2017, Cricket Highlights
When the hosts finished Day 4 on a high, the Indian fans thought that this game would also end in India’s favour and the Indian bowlers will rush through the Australian batting lineup, just like they did in the 4th and 5th Test against England. However, the team from down under showed that they are much better prepared than their arch-rivals and were not going to get bogged down that easily.
On Day 5, it was Matt Renshaw along with the Australian captain, Steven Smith, who started Australia’s mission of saving the Test. They did pretty well as they evaded the Indian bowlers from picking up a wicket in the first hour of play. For them, it was all about defending and saving their wicket… nothing else. There was no intention of scoring runs, forget about the boundaries. Even though the approach was right from their perspective, it also led to some dull and boring cricket.
Just when it seemed that nothing is working in Team India’s favour, the drinks break did the trick. Ishant Sharma, who went wicketless in the first innings, finally got one under his belt, as he got Renshaw out plumb in front. One brings two and this time around, it was the massive wicket of Smith, who supposedly had another ‘brain fade’, as he decided to let go one delivery from Jadeja, only to find his off-stump getting knocked back.
Two wickets in quick succession meant that two new batsmen had to start the things all over again for Australia. It was not going to be easy for the likes of Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb, and to help their team save the match, they needed to bat out of their skins. The duo exactly did that as they got involved in a partnership similar to that of Pujara and Saha and played out the time, which was required to draw the Test. Although their stand was not as monumental as compared to the Indian pair, the overs – 62.1 to be precise – for which they batted was significant to get their team out of the jail.
Peter Handscomb stood out in the partnership as the youngster showed great patience and determination in his knock of 70 off 200 balls. The way he tackled the Indian spin-duo and used his feet to score the runs against them showed his ability to play spin in these spin-friendly conditions.
Even though the Indians managed to pick up the wickets of Marsh (53) and Maxwell, it was all too late for them. Australia had already got ahead of them and there was no way, where in India could have picked up the remaining 4 wickets and then come out to bat to score the runs required.
It was a hard-fought effort from the Aussies, who showed a lot of character, to draw this match. They would have been delighted with this result, as the series still stands at 1-1; and if for some reason, the last Test match at Dharamsala also ends up in a draw, then they would retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.