Ranchi: The third test between India and Australia ended on the fifth day with a draw as Marsh and Handscomb stood till the end to save the match from India .
Resuming at a precarious 23-2 in 7.2 overs, the Aussies made it through the first one and half hour unscathed following a slow start by Steve Smith (21) and opener Matt Renshaw (15).
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But India inflicted a twin blow with Ishant Sharma (1/22) giving the breakthrough, dismissing opener Renshaw, in an eventful 29th over at the JSCA International Stadium Complex hosting its maiden Test.
Ravindra Jadeja (3/22) then cleaned up Smith for 21 (68 balls; 2×4) as India remained six wickets away from taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-Test series locked 1-1.
Smith, who scored a spectacular 178 not out in the first innings to lead Australia to 451, misjudged a probing line from Jadeja with the ball pitching middle and leg.
He shoulder-armed the delivery as the ball turned viciously after landing on the roughs of the bowling footmarks and flattened his off-stump.
Just in the previous over, Sharma set it up brilliantly to dismiss the left-handed Aussie opener that saw the first banter of the day.
Noticing some activity near the sightscreen, Renshaw decided to pull out but a livid Sharma, already having bowled four overs at a stretch, threw the ball in his follow through.
The ball was wide off Renshaw but the incident led to some exchanges between Sharma and the two batsmen in the middle and the umpire called Indian skipper Virat Kohli immediately.
Following a couple of minutes delay, Sharma finally resumed his over and charged Renshaw with a short-pitched delivery which hit the youngster’s thigh pad, climbed straight up to hit the chin through the gap of the helmet grill.
He followed it up with a bouncer that swung past Renshaw from a middle stump line as the opener looked under pressure.
Finally the big breakthrough moment came in for India when Sharma cramped Renshaw for room with a full length delivery that trapped the left-hander right on front.
Sharma exulted with an animated celebration as he capped the brilliant over with another nasty blow to new batsman Shaun Marsh with a ball that hit the batsman’s ribs.
Jadeja then claimed the first innings centurion Smith in the first ball of next over as India were back on their toes with a familiar script unfolding in their bid to take a 2-1 lead to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Earlier, India started with Jadeja as he held up one end, while there was pace attack from the pavillion end but the batsmen were at their watchful best as they negotiated the first hour without any trouble.
After suffering a massive 333-run defeat inside three days in Pune, India brillianty bounced back to level the series in Bengaluru with a 75-run win.