Marsh, Handscomb defy India

Rachel Hardy
March 21, 2017

A determined pair of Peter Handscomb (72*) and Shaun Marsh (53) helped Australia avoid a close defeat as they put a 124-run partnership stand for the fifth-wicket, second longest in the ongoing series after 199-run partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha.

After the high-scoring draw in Ranchi the two teams will travel to Dharamsala later in the week for the deciding match. But Smith said Australia would go into next weekend's series finale in Dharamsala full of confidence.

Australian captain Steve Smith said he was proud of his team's fightback here on the final day.

On a turning track, with Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja bowling in tandem, one would have expected India to seal a memorable win. I'm sure they're hurting a little bit in their change room. "Having said that, it's (four-match series) 1-1 and looking forward to the decider".

Following the drawn Test in Ranchi, Virat Kohli has hailed Cheteshwar Pujara and Wriddhiman Saha for overcoming a hard situation and taking India to a position from where they could have won the match. They will sight the result - a draw after 1257 runs scores in the five days with fall of just 25 wickets.

Australia finished on 204/6 with Handscomb and Matthew Wade remaining unbeaten. "I think it will be just similar sort of thing with Richie making sure that cricket is the victor this week", Smith said.

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Rearguard action: Shaun Marsh celebrates his half-century with Peter Handscomb. I thought they played beautifully.

Talking about the game, Kohli mentioned that they did really well and managed to put a good amount of pressure on the Aussies that on the final day they played to draw the game. "To produce some of the balls that he produced to get wickets was exciting", said Australia's assistant coach David Saker. "Maxwell was sensational. That's the way we want him to play", Smith said.

"It's never easy batting in the fourth [third] innings of a game in India and trying to save the game, and I was exceptionally proud of the way they all went about their business".

"I think he probably did a pretty terrific job to be able to get Virat back on the field after that shoulder injury". We took the new ball and got a couple of wickets. "Whenever we needed him, he has been there and his urge of getting runs has always helped us to withstand huge pressure". Pujara and Saha batted exceptionally well. When you play only one format, you are always extra determined to make it count.

Pujara was named the Player of the Match for his brilliant performance with the bat as he scored the third double century of his Test career. You feel happy for him because he is such a wonderful guy.

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