Aussies win series as Melbourne is drawn


The third Test between Australia and India ended in a draw in Melbourne, as the hosts offered the handshake with just four overs to go in the day, needing four wickets to win, but opting to claim the series.

India had batted for most of the day, after the Aussies declared on 318 for nine, and recovered well after being three down for 19. It was questioned why Steve Smith didn't bowl out the day, just in case, but he seemed happy to go to Sydney with the series in the bag.

Play began with Australia coming out to bat, not declaring overnight as expected, on 261 for seven. Shaun Marsh was on 62, and Ryan Harris on eight. They had to endure a rain delay at one point, but put on quick runs.

Marsh made it all the way to 99 before being run out by Virat Kohli, the batsman diving for his ground but not in time. This wicket prompted the declaration, leaving India with either 384 runs to get on 10 wickets to defend.

They opted for the latter, especially after the top three were removed cheaply. Shikhar Dhawan was out for a duck in the second over, trapped LBW by Ryan Harris, and then Murali Vijay was also out LBW, for 11 to Josh Hazlewood.

Debutant KL Rahul was moved up the order to three, and didn't last long as Mitchell Johnson induced a poor shot and he was caught by Shane Watson. Thus, a rescue mission was required, and Kohli provided it.

The controversial batsman was once again in the thick of the verbal sparring, this time with Brad Haddin, but he kept his head long enough to put on a stand of 85 over the next 26 overs with Ajinkya Rahane.

Kohli was out just after tea, having recorded his fifty, when he was caught by Joe Burns off Harris. Cheteshwar Pujara joined Rahane and ate up valuable overs, making 21. He was removed by a superb Johnson off-cutter from wide of the crease which crashed into his stumps.

A thrilling ending was on the cards soon afterwards when Rahane was dismissed for 48, leaving two new batsmen at the crease. But those batsmen were MS Dhoni and Ravi Ashwin, who were perfectly able to keep the Aussies at bay until Smith called it a day.

The fourth and final Test will start on 6 January at the SCG, with the Aussies having won the series two-nil already.