Australia cricket team skipper Steve Smith’s bid to get one over his Indian counterpart Virat Kohli has been the abiding by-play in the current Test series. And it was no different after the visitors battled to ensure a draw on Day 5 of the third Test in Ranchi on Monday. (Day 5 Highlights)
Although Smith sounded calm and cautious after arriving in India, where the team had not won a Test since 2004, the decibel level went up once the Aussies stunned India by clinching the opening Test in Pune in three days.The DRS controversy in Bangalore Test made things explosive and with the draw in Ranchi, the stage is set for an explosive finale in Dharamsala. (Ranchi Test Scorecard)
After the Ranchi draw, where Australian pair of Shaun Marsh (53) and Peter Handscomb (72 not out) held firm for 62.1 to frustrate Indian bowlers’ hopes of handing victory to take lead in the series with a game left, Smith again was at playing mind games.
“If there’s anything called momentum, it’s with us at the moment,” he told a news conference after the match. “India coming today would have expected to bowl us out. I’m sure they’re hurting a little bit in their change room. If there’s anything with momentum in cricket, it’s probably on our side at the minute. Its 1-1 all and we have the decider in Dharamsala, which is really exciting.”
Read more | What went wrong for Team India in Ranchi Test
Australia began the day at 23/2 with India pushing for a big win, but it tapered into a tame draw after tea on a pitch where, barring the rough outside the left-hander’s off-stump at one end, it was extremely difficult to dislodge a batsman once he was set.
Smith had courted controversy at the second Test in Bangalore as well, after seeking dressing room help to decide whether or not to seek DRS review after being given out leg before in the second innings. Umpire Nigel Llong quickly intervened and asked Smith to leave the pitch after being alerted by India skipper Virat Kohli.
Although Smith later admitted he was wrong, and had suffered ‘a brain fade’, the Aussie camp bristled with indignation following Virat Kohli’s claim that the visitors were habitual offenders.