With series levelled at one each, India and Australia head to Ranchi for the penultimate Test

Australia tour of India, 3rd Test: India v Australia at Ranchi, March 16-20, 2017.

The match is scheduled to begin on March 16, 2017 (09:30 local | 04:00 GMT)

Squads:

India: V Kohli*, R Ashwin, RA Jadeja, B Kumar, A Mukund, KK Nair, CA Pujara, AM Rahane, KL Rahul, WP Saha, I Sharma, M Vijay, J Yadav, UT Yadav.

Australia: SPD Smith*, DA Warner, AC Agar, JM Bird, PJ Cummins, PSP Handscomb, JR Hazlewood, UT Khawaja, NM Lyon, SE Marsh, GJ Maxwell, SNJ O’Keefe, MT Renshaw, MP Stoinis, MJ Swepson, MS Wade

After winning the second Test match by 75 runs, India will certainly look to carry the winning momentum into the third Test at Ranchi. This is the most important match in the series because it will decide who goes into the final Test with a 2-1 lead. A result seems most likely going by the nature of the pitch.

The Indian team seems to have all bases covered for the Test with Murali Vijay all set to return for the hosts after recovering from his shoulder injury. Abhinav Mukund will make way for the Indian opener to take his place in the side which might be the only change that is likely to take place for the Indians.

Australia and India have been bitter rivals both on and off the field but Ranchi will be the place that decides which side goes 2-1 up in the series. The pitch at Ranchi is likely to be a slow turner with low bounce assisting both the spinners and the seamers, much like it did at Bengaluru.

Australia on the other hand, have a lot on their plate, at least in terms of selection. The visitors have a big hole to fill with Mitchell Starc being ruled out for the remainder of the series. Pat Cummins in all probability will get the nod ahead of Jackson Bird but this doesn’t put everything in place for the Aussies.

Nathan Lyon is nursing a finger injury but the off-spinner is more than likely to get fit before the third Test begins. The leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson would be too much of a gamble for the Aussies in a scenario where Lyon is forced to sit out.

All-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who has been called into Australia‘s squad for the two remaining Tests in India as a replacement for the injured Mitchell Marsh, has shrugged off the concerns over his batting form and declared that he is ready to make his Test debut. Though he failed to perform in the Sheffield Shield this season, Australian selectors were impressed by his knock of 146 at Eden Park in Auckland against New Zealand last month, a knock that included 11 sixes. Additionally, he was one of the consistent performers of the series. His performance earned him the praises of the New Zealand coach Mike Hesson as well.

Stoinis, who will be joining the Australian Test squad shortly, has dismissed concerns over his batting form based on his performance in Sheffield Shield. He believes that a match innings cannot be an indication of his form.

Toss:

Australia, who chose to bat.

Day 1:

Australia reached 299 for four wickets at stumps on Day 1 of the Ranchi Test. Australia, playing their 800th Test, opted to bat against India after winning the toss. Steve Smith reached a landmark 5,000 Test runs en route to scoring an unbeaten 117. Glenn Maxwell was batting on 82. Smith and Maxwell produced an unbeaten 159-run stand for the fifth wicket. This was the highest stand of this series for any wicket.

Riding on Steve Smith’s century and Glenn Maxwell’s half-century, Australia ended the first day’s play on 299 for 4.

Having lost only one wicket in the second session, Australia came into the final session with the belief that they can put together a good partnership between Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell. And the visitors did exactly that. Having not lost a wicket in the final session, Australia would feel that they are in a commanding position at the end of the first day’s play of the third Test match. Smith led from the front by bringing up his 19th Test century with Maxwell giving him good company who got to his maiden Test half-century. India would be disappointed with their performance, specially after picking up three wickets in the first session.

Day 2:

That’s all for today. Day two at Ranchi produced a see-saw battle. While the Australians rode on Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith’s knocks, Ravindra Jadeja brought the hosts back into the game with a timely five-for and then the Indian top order, led by KL Rahul, absorbed all the pressure that the Australian bowlers threw at them. Day three is expected to be pivotal in the context of this match and the team winning the day tomorrow would be in a really advantageous position in the match.

KL Rahul scored a brilliant half-century before getting out as the hosts trail by 331 runs at the end of second day’s play.

After bowling out Australia for 451, India came back strongly as both the openers got the hosts off to a very good start. KL Rahul was dismissed for 67 by Patt Cummins but Murali Vijay (42*) is looking solid at the other end. The final session saw India dominate the Aussies as runs came at a healthy pace before the visitors pulled it back a bit by not conceding easy runs. The third day promises to be great one with the hosts still trailing by 331 runs.

Day 3:

Cheteshwar Pujara scored his 11th Test ton to keep India going and within distance of matching Australia’s first innings total of 451.

Cheteshwar Pujara scored his 11th Test hundred as India were 360/6 at stumps on Day 3. Cheteshwar Pujara on 130 and Wriddhiman Saha on 18. India still trail by 91 runs. Earlier, Murali Vijay scored a brilliant fifty while Virat Kohli braved a shoulder injury and came out to bat at No. 4. He scored just six runs. Aussie Pat Cummins stood out with a four-wicket haul on a wicket that was not suitable for pace bowling. On Day 2, Steve Smith’s unbeaten 178 and Glenn Maxwell’s maiden century powered Australia to a series-high 451 while Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers for India with figures of 5/124.

Day 4:

Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja put IND on top.

Ravindra Jadeja claimed two wickets as Australia finished Day 4 on 23/2 in their second innings of the third Test match against India at Ranchi. The visitors trail by 129 runs. Earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara slammed the third double ton of his Test career as India declared their first innings on 603/9 to take a lead of 152 runs. Wriddhiman Saha provided able support to Pujara and in the process, scored his 3rd Test century while Ravindra Jadeja made a quick-fire fifty to guide his team to a commendable total.

Day 5:

Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb’s monumental effort helps Australia draw third Test, series remains tied 1-1.

The third Test match between India and Australia ended in a draw at Ranchi after Australia were 204/6 in their second innings at the end of Day 5. Australia lost a couple of wickets early on Day 4, but Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb stitched together a brilliant partnership that proved to be the saving grace for the visitors. For India, Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the bowlers with 4 wickets while Ravichandran Ashwin and Ishant Sharma took one wicket each.

Australia became the first team since 2010-11 to save a Test match in India after trailing in the first innings against India. Peter Handscomb played 200 balls for his unbeaten 72 and Shaun Marsh played 197 for his half-century to draw the match. Australia resumed the day at 23 for 2 and India managed to pick two wickets in the first session. But Marsh and Handscomb did not give away their wicket until the final half-hour of the day when Marsh was dismissed. The series remained tied at 1-1 with the final Test to be played in Dharamsala.

Result:

Match drawn.

Player of the match: CA Pujara (India).

Score Card:

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