Australia v India – Third Test, Day 5: Against all odds India pull off a marvellous draw






After a rugged day on Day 4 today should see Australia cruise to victory with time to spare.


It is hard to envisage the Indian team batting through the day given that they could be two batsmen short and the wicket will definitely be taking spin.


Much will depend on how long Pujara and Rahane can stay at the crease.  They have the ability through years of experience but it is a long day.


The question is soon answered for me when Rahane (4) pushes at Lyon and Labuschagne takes a great reflex catch close-in. 3/102.  Rishabh Pant does come to the wicket to bat so that is another questioned answered but I have my doubts on Jadeja batting unless it is to hold Australia out late in the day.


Pant is going to go down gloriously if India don’t win and he attacks Lyon with gusto.  The Australians won’t mind as he is lofting the ball to and over the boundary and there is all day to play.


Meanwhile Pujara is at his stoic best despite taking a pounding from Hazlewood. Letting the ball hit the body or taking his hand off the bat. Defiance at its best.


Lyon and Labuschagne are operating at the moment, indicative of the wicket. Great judge I am!  Starc comes on but wastes the ball. Can see Pattinson replacing him in Brisbane just to give him a spell.


Two sixes and a single and Pant reaches a very good 50 with 4 fours and 3 sixes.  He has not let Lyon dictate to him this morning.  Looking back at the game there is no doubt that when he was hit on the elbow in the first innings while attacking the bowling that this was probably the defining moment of the game.


Captain Paine has had a bad morning dropping Pant twice of Lyon. Something about the keeper’s fraternity? No correspondence please Rulebook.


Marvellous rear -guard action by the two batsmen and the 100 partnership comes with Pant supplying 73 of those runs. Has had a bit of luck but is such a beautiful striker of the ball.  The 3 sixes off Lyon are testimony to that.  India now need 200 to win with 7 wickets in hand.


At lunch and the Australians will be looking to regroup. Lyon has been unlucky and the fast men are finding it difficult to break through the stubborn defence.  Splendid work by the Bharatians though with Pujara on 41 and Pant 73.


The battle continues after lunch as the Indians are probably thinking we are still in with a chance.


Pant reaches 97 with some swashbuckling sixes and looks set for his century but in the last over before the new ball is taken, he does not get to the pitch of a Lyon delivery and Cummins again show his athleticism by diving and taking the catch inches from the ground.  A very, very timely wicket and the home side can breathe easier.  India 4/250 with 157 to win.


A wonderful innings by the little wicketkeeper and conjecture could only say ‘what if?’ Rishabh Pant faced 118 ball and hit 12 fours and 3 sixes. His counter attack on the Australians nearly succeeded.


Cummins takes the new ball and immediately has Vihari in trouble.  Can he support Pujara on 58?  Time will tell and he would certainly need to show improvement from his first innings.


Pujara show that Cummins is not superman and hits him for three consecutive fours. I am sure he thinks “we can still win this”.


Just looked across at the Indian dressing room and Jadeja has his whites on which can only mean one thing. He will bat.


Lyon-hearted is back on after only 5 overs with the second new ball.


The drama of Test cricket continues.


Vihari has cramped up after 10 minutes on the field! No probably worse than that but spare a thought for his batting partner. Cheteshwar has been out there for the whole day!


Pujara on 77 gets a ripper from Hazlewood that cuts back and beats the bat. The match winning ball as “The Wall” has been brilliant in defying the Australian attack. India 5/272.


For the second time today ‘The Ugly Australian’ was at its best.  Firstly, Lyon when he took the wicket of Pant and then Hazlewood when he bowled Pujara. The snarls and looks on their faces said it all.  When are we going to take a wicket with good grace? Sportsmanship – long gone.


Lyon, on an all-out attack now has 5 men around the bat. Good move as Ashwin prods forward at every opportunity.


India goes to tea 5/280 with Vihari 4 (strike rate 7.69) and Ashwin 7.  The game is far from over and Jadeja is next in.  Maximum of 36 overs to go.


Cummins and Hazlewood are all fired up and are giving it their all with a full bumper barrage at both batsmen.  Shades of Ken Mackay (Adelaide 1961), as Ashwin lets the ball hit his body rather than play a shot. ‘It’s all happening.’


Three-quarters of an hour after tea the duo are still there but Ashwin is having trouble with his body protector. He fumbles and farts around for a few overs and then tries to give it to umpire. The ‘Pistol’ is having nothing to do with it so Ashwin stuffs it down the back of his trousers. Talk about farce and time wasting.


The Australian bowlers are bowling far too short and they are looking for catches in close. Time and time again the batsmen leave the ball without playing a shot. Poor bowling and a bit of angst not helping either.


There must be a plan within the Indian camp as they are not even taking singles. Perhaps Vihari is also hampered by his injury.  Ashwin will take Lyon and Vihari the fast men.


It now seems obvious that Vihari is hampered by his injury so why no runner? Maybe the thought is that runs don’t matter we will just play each ball as it comes and to hell with running.


Whatever, the drama and theatre of Test match cricket continues. Shakespeare could not have penned it better than this.


Richard III:  Act: V    Scene: V (Line vii) “A wicket! A wicket! My kingdom for a wicket.” (with apologies to WS)


Paine drops another one! With 9 overs to go Vihari nicks Starc, Paine dives to his right in front of Warner, gets his hand to the ball and out it pops. Would Warner have gobbled it up? Who knows?


With 7 overs to go Starc is making the ball move around and he is bowling fuller. Dahhh!!


What a Test match.


A remarkable statistic comes out. Of 120 balls bowled by the pace men since tea only 13 would have hit the wickets.


With four overs to go both batsmen hit fours and they take a single!


It’s a draw as Australia conceding the last over with India 5/334 Ashwin 39 not out and Vihari 23 not out. Hazlewood 2/39 and Lyon 2/114, Cummins 1/71


Vihari (23 from 161 balls) and Ashwin (39 from 190 balls) are heroes they have batted right through the final session of play to draw the game for their country. A truly remarkable performance from a team that was down but never out. Their performances in the last 2 Test matches have been truly remarkable. Riddled with injuries to key bowlers. Two batsmen hurt in this game yet they were able to fight it out to the end.




Today will be a day the Australians will want to forget and in particular captain Tim Paine who dropped a brace of catches. The fast men bowled far too short as the statistic above shows. Lehmann’s panacea was the bouncer and I am afraid that was a complete failure today.


Now to Brisbane for the decider. Will Australia make changes? Will Pattinson get a game and will Wade be out.  What about India? No doubt they will have some injury worries again.


One wonderful note from the Pink Test. More than 150,000 virtual pink seats were sold and $3,012,340 was raised to help fund the Jane McGrath Breast Care Nurses.


In Richie’s words – marvellous!



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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    What a great last day of cricket! I was riveted to the TV, all the ebbs and flows made it what Test cricket is all about. It was absorbing, some superb batting from Pant and stoic efforts by Ashwin and Vihari, missed chances by the Aussies all made it a cracking game. Thanks for your fantastic reports CB, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your astute observations and comments.

  2. Test cricket is the greatest game.

    Thanks, Citrus.

    Starc looked cooked to me in this match. A change for Brisbane, perhaps?

  3. Liam Hauser says

    I’m not at all disappointed with the result. With Rohit out to a suicidal stroke with 15 mins left on day 4, and then Rahane out in the second over of day 5, one might have thought India could be all out by around tea time on day 5 (especially with a couple of injuries and a suspect lower order).
    Full credit to Pujara and Pant, and also to Ashwin and Vihari for ensuring that Pujara’s and Pant’s efforts were not in vain.
    An unexpected result, but great backs-to-the-wall Test cricket. Real cricket too, not T20. It’s rare nowadays to see a team bat for 3 or 4 sessions to force a draw. This Test shows that there’s nothing wrong with a draw.
    It sets up a highly anticipated Gabba decider. It’s all on the line for both teams, and the venue has been a fortress for Australia for a long time.
    It will be interesting to see the changes to each team. Pucovski and Warner might be in doubt because of injury, meaning Wade might be spared the axe. The bowlers look overworked, but I’m not sure if the selectors would omit Starc and bring in Pattinson or Neser.
    Paine meanwhile had a horror Test, fined for dissent and dropping 3 catches on the final day. I wonder if this suggests to the selectors that the 36-year-old Paine’s Test career might be getting close to the end. If so, a new captain will be sought.
    Ian Healy had a poor Test in the Caribbean in 1999 which signalled that his career was nearing the end. Adam Gilchrist had the same thing in the acrimonious Sydney Test of 2008. I wonder if the Test that’s just finished is the equivalent for Paine.

  4. Really enjoyed the ebb and flow of this Test. The Indians are fighters. Thought they might throw in the towel after their first innings injuries, but they kept at it. The flat deck found out our “world conquering” bowling attack.
    The captaincy and batting 7 look to be taking a toll on Paine. He is a fine keeper but looked uptight this test and it showed in his glove work. Too soon to be dropping him. No obvious replacement as Captain. Carey better value as purely keeper-batsman?
    Are you off to the Gabba CB? Aussies look rudderless without you in the stands.

  5. Another fine summary Bob. A not fully fir Pant made a pantomime of Lyon’s bowling – great to watch. Contrary as was expected by many, Lyon could only roar twice on the day. Starc looked stuffed and Paine had a real pain of a day. I believe it’s seriously time for the selectors to consider Carey for the keeper’s role.

  6. Daryl Schramm says

    Thanks again Bob. So much to talk about. I’m not disappointed in the result either. None of the experts gave them a chance of saving, let alone winning which was not out of the equation with Pant and Pujara at the wicket. Pant. Played well but we got stiffed well and truly with him not having to keep. Starc’s overs straight after lunch needs explanation. The most ordinary spell of test match bowling in the circumstances. With India hanging around I wondered when things were going to turn nasty. Fell back out of love again for my side as the match progressed. Wade, Paine, and what was Smith doing scratching guard? Just ridiculous. A great test match and India’s fighting spirit to be admired. The Gabba will be interesting.

  7. CITRUS BOB says

    BOMBER -Thanks for your comments. Yes, it was riveting that is why Test cricket is the greatest game!
    SMOKIE – Starc needs a spell but I hear Pattinson is unavailable. Obviously has splinters in his backside. Green’s bowling not up to standard yet, bat him at 5 and forget about the bowling. Play a Queenslander. Ditto re “Bomber”
    IH- The media, as I expected, are in to Paine and he deserves it after this Test. Unfortunately it also diminishes all the good work he has done since CapeTown. Make the change after the Test. Lord knows who should be captain it might have to be Cummins.
    PB. – Politics will keep me from being there. This India team will not throw in the towel. They are on top of the world and still remember The Raj despite England giving them the game! Still waiting to hear from Rulebook on wicketkeeper.
    FISHO – as per my other comments.
    DS- As usual your comments are on the mark. We cannot help ourselves and resort to childish behaviour.
    Hope the visitors have enough fit players for Brisbane and Bumrah returns to his magic.

  8. John Butler says

    It ended up as another entry in the pantheon of great draws after looking like a regulation Australian win. Test cricket keeps on producing.

    Love your work, CB.

  9. Thanks Citrus.

    Brilliant last couple of days in particular.
    Thoroughly enjoyable.

    So many things to wonder about, to look back on.
    Credit must go to those who performed when it mattered.

    And I cannot recall an injury/ unavailability list like the one facing India right now.
    Ashwin and Jadeja such wonderful cricketers. (Howabout Jadeja’s run out of SPD Smith in the first innings?)

    Well played Rishabh Pant, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin. Magnificent.

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