Cricket
Ranchi draw sets up India-Australia decider
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Ranchi draw sets up India-Australia decider

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Having at one stage faced an uphill battle to avoid defeat, Australia dug deep to earn a draw with India in Ranchi.
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Australia and India will head to the final Test locked at 1-1 after their third meeting ended in a draw on Monday.

Peter Handscomb underlined the tourists' gritty determination with a painstaking 72 not out on a final day in Ranchi which was perhaps more attritional than entertaining.

Having seen Cheteshwar Pujara's first-innings double-century lead India to 603-9 declared on Sunday, Australia – who resumed their second innings on 23-2 and still 129 runs behind – knew a stern test awaited them in tricky conditions.

But only four wickets fell on day five and Virat Kohli offered the draw when Steve Smith's side were on 204-6, leading by 52.

The fourth Test begins in Dharamsala on Saturday, with the series victory up for grabs for both sides.

Monday's opening session represented a promising start for the hosts, who took two wickets and conceded only 60 runs.

Matt Renshaw (15) and captain Smith (21) were the two sent packing, with Ishant Sharma (1-30) and Ravindra Jadeja (4-54) getting their respective men in the space of four balls.

Australia's determined response underscored their battling qualities, with Shaun Marsh (53) and Handscomb digging in as they navigated the post-lunch overs without loss.


Indeed, it took until the 92nd over for India to remove Marsh, who was deceived by some bounce from Jadeja and fell to an easy catch from Murali Vijay.

A sixth wicket went down soon after as Glenn Maxwell added just two to the total before falling victim to Ravichandran Ashwin (1-71).

But Handscomb, joined by Matthew Wade (9 not out), refused to budge, facing 200 deliveries in a patient knock that gave his side the stability they required to keep India at bay.

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