India vs Australia Test Series 2017: 3rd Test Scorecard | Mar 16-20 | JSCA Stadium, Ranchi

The third India vs Australia Test was one for the purists. In Ranchi, the bat didn’t dominate the ball and unlike in Bangalore, the ball wasn’t a grenade which merely had to be delivered in a certain way for it to cause a destruction of massive proportions. Rather, as a batsman, you had to be patient to reap the rewards and the bowlers too had to put in a lot of effort and keep persevering in order to pick wickets.

In many ways, the Ranchi Test was a throwback to how Test cricket was played before and for a few years after the inception of T20 cricket. Not once over the five days was 300 runs scored (299, 272, 240, 266, and 181 were the scores on each day) and, proportionally, the wickets never fell in double digits on any of the days (4, 7, 5, 5, and 4).

And, because neither of these (run scoring and wicket taking) happened in the extreme, we had to settle for a draw. But this was by no means a dull draw; yes, days three and four witnessed a few phases when the 3rd Test seemed to be heading for a draw, but then this Test had sprung into life by the end of day four, with the final session setting up an unpredictable day five.

It was not a dull Test because both teams kept responding emphatically to each other’s challenges. Australia ended day one in a dominant position, at 299/4, and looked set to post a total in excess of 500, with captain Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell, the replacement for Mitchell Marsh, putting on an unbeaten 159-run stand for the fifth wicket. But India came roaring back on day two, conceding only 152 runs for the final six wickets and through their openers, Murali Vijay and Lokesh Rahul, responding well to Australia’s first innings total of 451.

On what was a batsmen-friendly pitch, three of the Australian bowlers (Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Steve O’Keefe) did a good holding job on the Indian batsmen. The runs rarely came freely on days three and four, but as aforementioned, neither did the wickets fall in clusters.

The 3rd Test between India and Australia will long be remembered for the kind of knock Cheteshwar Pujara played. Yes, he made the third double century of his Test career (525-ball 202) and helped India take a 152-run lead. The standout aspects were the Saurashtra batsman’s patience, his being obdurate on a pitch that was a little on the slower side and his astonishing powers of concentration over the course of an innings which spanned well over 10 hours.

In addition to the slow nature of the Ranchi pitch, Pujara had to be diligent in negotiating O’Keefe’s line of attack: the Australian left-arm spinner bowled numerous overs into the rough outside Pujara’s leg stump and the seasoned campaigner in Pujara didn’t rise to O’Keefe and Australia’s bait. This was one of the classic contests we were privileged to see in the 3rd Test between the top two Test sides in the world.

After India were reduced to 328/6 in the final session of day three, Pujara found a batting partner who was equally solid and like him, was willing to be patient for his runs, unlike the likes of Murali Vijay, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, whose penchant for expansive strokes brought about their downfalls. Pujara and Saha’s seventh wicket partnership of 199 runs, to which Saha contributed 117, was what gave India the coveted edge ahead of day five.

Saha was measured in his approach and mixed caution with aggression a lot better than Pujara. The Indian wicketkeeper did endure close shaves at various stages of his 233-ball 117 in Ranchi, but he played some delightful strokes and complemented Pujara well. He was a vital element in India posting 603/9 declared in their first innings and ensuring that they kept the Aussies honest ahead of the final day.

For India to win the 3rd Test against Australia, Ravindra Jadeja had to produce a magical spell on the final day. Unlike India, whose batting line-up had 10 right-hand batsmen, Australia’s had four left-handers in their top seven. And Jadeja had bowlers’s footmarks outside the left-handers’s off-stump to work with. This was a dynamic which could, quite literally, have won India the Test match.

Because Jadeja, with his fast and unerring left-arm orthodox spin bowling, was able to terrify the cream of the Australian batting line-up. And in the seven-and-a-half overs which Australia batted at the end of day four, the Saurashtra spinning all-rounder had provided a preview of what he was capable of, with the pitch as his ally. The result of the 3rd Test, therefore, hinged on the battle between Jadeja and the Australian batsmen.

But, contrary to popular expectations, Australia found two unexpected heroes on day five and India, who were asking too much of Jadeja, found themselves having to settle for a draw. Kohli and co. now need to win the final Test in Dharamsala to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb joined together before lunch on the final day, following the fall of two vital wickets, those of their skipper (Smith) and the dependable Matthew Renshaw, and played out a whopping 62.1 overs, to save the Test for Australia. Handscomb was unbeaten on 72 when Kohli gave in and settled for a draw, but S Marsh had also played a pivotal knock of 53 (197), to thwart India on the final day.

This, after Australia had been reduced to 63-4 in the first session on day five. Following India’s double strike, the general consensus was that Kohli’s men were recreating the magic of the Chennai Test against England in December 2016.

What will please Australia the most is, the replacements for M Marsh (Maxwell) and Mitchell Starc (Cummins), didn’t look out of place on their returns to Test cricket. The loss of Starc, in particular, was expected to be huge for Australia ahead of the 3rd Test. But Cummins, playing his first Test since November 2011, proved to be a solid replacement for Starc, bowling with pace and more importantly, getting the most out of a largely benign pitch, of all the pacers (himself, Hazlewood, Ishant Sharma, and Umesh Yadav). The manner in which Cummins dismissed KL Rahul, Rahane and Ashwin—with short of length deliveries that got big on this troika—is quite unheard of in Indian conditions and on Indian pitches.

Maxwell, in the always crucial first innings in Indian conditions, batted sensibly to stitch together a 191-run partnership for the fifth wicket with his skipper. The new Kings XI Punjab skipper struck his first boundary on the 57th ball he faced, as he dropped his guard and played an uncharacteristic knock (104 off 185 balls) which might well give him a new lease of life in international cricket. He was selective in the shots he played and by the time he was dismissed, he had vindicated the Australian think tank and will have taken tremendous satisfaction from what he had achieved.

What can also not be overlooked is Steve Smith’s brilliant 178* in the first innings. The Australian skipper will have been under pressure after being involved in the DRS controversy in the aftermath of the Bangalore Test. But he let none of the elements of the past affect him, as he delivered another Smith masterclass to halt India on day one. Australia, mind you, were 89-3 before lunch on day one and as always, Smith had to shoulder the responsibility and bail his team out of a difficult situation. He, like Pujara, could not become aggressive at any stage of his unbeaten knock, but his presence and assured batting were vital to Australia.

Match preview

India came back strongly in the second Test in Bangalore, after Australia had consigned them to a massive 333-run defeat in Pune. As the No. 1-ranked Test side, Kohli’s India showed plenty of character to beat Australia by 75 runs at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. India’s win in Bangalore meant that the four-Test series was delicately poised and neither side could afford to lose the 3rd Test, which was to be played at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi.

Led by Kohli, the hosts tried extremely hard to unsettle Smith and his troops by reacting strongly to Smith’s ‘brain fade’, following their thrilling victory in Bangalore. Also, over the course of the second Test, India had out-sledged their Australian counterparts and did appear to have gained the psychological edge. The Bangalore Test felt more like the India v Australia rivalry we have come to expect.

India definitely had the upper hand ahead of the 3rd Test, with Australia losing Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Marsh through a right foot stress fracture and shoulder injury, respectively.

The pitch for the third Test, as always, was under the spotlight ahead of the start. The curator had aggravated matters by saying that “the officials” will choose the pitch for the first Test at the venue, two days before the Test match. This was misinterpreted by the Australian media as a conspiracy. A plenty had gone on between the end of the second Test and the start of the third Test.

Match facts

India vs Australia Test Series 2017, 3rd Test
Date and time: 16, 17, 18, 19, and 20 March, 9:30 AM
Venue: JSCA International Stadium Complex, Ranchi

2017 India vs Australia 3rd Test Scorecard

Toss: won by Steve Smith, who had no hesitation in batting first

Pitch report: The Ranchi pitch had been well-rolled and had a dark exterior before the Test match started. It was expected to be on the slower side and the cracks it had weren’t expected to have an effect until at least day four. But providing a verdict on how it could play was difficult and, in hindsight, hosting its first-ever Test match, the Ranchi pitch didn’t play badly. But the lack of deterioration even on days four and five, a possible result of the watering before the Test match, meant that the batsmen were fairly comfortable once they settled in. 

Playing XIs

India: Virat Kohli*, Murali Vijay, Lokesh Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Karun Nair, Ravichandran Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, and Umesh Yadav

Australia: Steve Smith*, David Warner, Matthew Renshaw, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade (WK), Pat Cummins, Steve O’Keefe, Nathan Lyon, and Josh Hazlewood

India vs Australia 3rd Test scores: Australia 451 all-out and 204/6; India 603/9 declared

Match result: The third Test between India and Australia ended in a draw, as Australia batted out the whole of day five, losing just four wickets. Cheteshwar Pujara was awarded the man-of-the-match for his marathon-esque knock of 202 (525).

Australia’s Batting 1st Innings
Batsmen and dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Matthew Renshaw

caught Kohli, bowled Umesh

44 (69) 7 0 63.76
David Warner

caught and bowled Jadeja

19 (26) 2 0 73.07
Steve Smith

not out

178* (361) 17 0 49.30
Shaun Marsh

caught Pujara, bowled Ashwin

2 (8) 0 0 25.00
Peter Handscomb

leg before wicket Umesh

19 (47) 2 0 40.42
Glenn Maxwell

caught Saha, bowled Jadeja

104 (185) 9 2 56.21
Matthew Wade

caught Saha, bowled Jadeja

37 (50) 6 0 74.00
Pat Cummins

bowled Jadeja

0 (2) 0 0 0.00
Steve O’Keefe

caught Vijay, bowled Yadav

25 (71) 5 0 35.21
Nathan Lyon

caught Nair, bowled Jadeja

1 (6) 0 0 16.66
Josh Hazlewood

run out Rahul/Jadeja

0 (2) 0 0 0.00
Extras 22 (9 byes, 11 leg byes and 2 no-balls)
Australia’s total 451 all out in 137.3 overs, at 3.28 runs per over
Australia’s fall of wickets 50/1 (Warner, 9.4), 80/2 (Renshaw, 22.3), 89/3 (S Marsh, 25.1), 140/4 (Handscomb, 42.2), 331/5 (Maxwell, 101.2), 395/6 (Wade, 115.4), 395/7 (Cummins, 115.6), 446/8 (O’Keefe, 134.3), 449/9 (Lyon, 135.6), and 451/10 (Hazlewood, 137.3)
India’s Bowling 1st Innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Ishant Sharma 20 2 70 0 3.50
Umesh Yadav 31 3 106 3 3.41
Ravichandran Ashwin 34 2 114 1 3.35
Ravindra Jadeja 49.3 8 124 5 2.51
Murali Vijay 3 0 17 0 5.66
      India’s Batting 1st Innings (trail by 451 runs)
Batsmen and dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
Lokesh Rahul

caught Wade, bowled Cummins

67 (102) 9 0 65.68
Murali Vijay

stumped Wade, bowled O’Keefe

82 (183) 10 1 44.80
Cheteshwar Pujara

caught Maxwell, bowled Lyon

202 (525) 21 0 38.47
Virat Kohli

caught Smith, bowled Cummins

6 (23) 0 0 26.08
Ajinkya Rahane

caught Wade, bowled Cummins

14 (33) 2 0 42.42
Karun Nair

bowled Hazlewood

23 (47) 2 0 48.93
Ravichandran Ashwin

caught Wade, bowled Cummins

3 (22) 0 0 13.63
Wriddhiman Saha

caught Maxwell, bowled O’Keefe

117 (233) 8 1 50.21
Ravindra Jadeja

not out

54 (55) 5 2 98.18
Umesh Yadav

caught Warner, bowled O’Keefe

16 (33) 2 0 48.48
Ishant Sharma

not out

0 (4) 0 0 0.00
Extras 19 (14 byes and 5 leg byes)
India’s total 603/9 declared in 210 overs, at 2.87 runs per over
India’s fall of wickets 91/1 (KL Rahul, 31.2), 193/2 (Vijay, 70.4), 225/3 (Kohli, 80.3), 276/4 (Rahane, 91.2), 320/5 (Nair, 107.4), 328/6 (Ashwin, 115.4), 527/7 (Pujara, 193.2), 541/8 (Saha, 196.1), and 595/9 (Umesh, 208.2)
Australia’s Bowling 1st Innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Josh Hazlewood 44 10 103 1 2.34
Pat Cummins 39 10 106 4 2.71
Steve O’Keefe 77 17 199 3 2.58
Nathan Lyon 46 2 163 1 3.54
Glenn Maxwell 4 0 13 0 3.25
Australia’s Batting 2nd Innings (trail by 152 runs)
Batsmen and dismissal Runs scored No. of 4s No. of 6s Strike rate
David Warner

bowled Jadeja

14 (16) 3 0 87.50
Matthew Renshaw

leg before wicket Ishant

15 (84) 1 0 17.85
Nathan Lyon

bowled Jadeja

2 (7) 0 0 28.57
Steve Smith

bowled Jadeja

21 (68) 2 0 30.88
Shaun Marsh

caught Vijay, bowled Jadeja

53 (197) 7 0 26.90
Peter Handscomb

not out

72 (200) 7 0 36.00
Glenn Maxwell

caught Vijay, bowled Ashwin

2 (15) 0 0 13.33
Matthew Wade

not out

9 (16) 2 0 56.25
Extras 16 (3 no-balls, 9 byes and 4 leg byes)
Australia’s total 204/6 in 100 overs, at 2.04 runs per over
Australia’s fall of wickets 17/1 (Warner, 5.1), 23/2 (Lyon, 7.2), 59/3 (Renshaw, 28.4), 63/4 (Smith, 29.1), 187/5 (S Marsh, 91.2), and 190/6 (Maxwell, 94.4)
Batsmen who didn’t bat Pat Cummins, Steve O’Keefe and Josh Hazlewood
India’s Bowling 2nd Innings
Bowlers Overs Maidens Runs conceded Wickets taken Economy rate
Ravichandran Ashwin 30 10 71 1 2.36
Ravindra Jadeja 44 18 54 4 1.22
Umesh Yadav 15 2 36 0 2.40
Ishant Sharma 11 0 30 1 2.72

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