India Escape With Draw, Australia Clinch Series
Australia 318-9 decl (Marsh 99) & 530 (Smith 192) v
India 174-6 (Kohli 54) & 465 (Kohli 169, Rahane 147)
Third Test, Day Five, Melbourne
After an exciting day of Test cricket at its very best, India scurried to a nervous draw in Melbourne as Australia clinched the Border-Gavaskar trophy with an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Intermittent weather interruptions, high voltage banter, questionable umpiring decisions and some debatable captaincy calls made this boxing day Test more fascinating than usual.
After an expected rain delay at the start of the day's proceedings, Australia decided to bat a little longer than expected and delayed the declaration giving their bowlers a few overs less to aim for a convenient victory.
Overnight batting pair, Shaun Marsh and Ryan Harris (21) built a well composed partnership stand of 69 runs for the eighth wicket.
Mohammad Shami (2-92) broke the partnership by producing an outside edge of the Harris' bat which was snapped by Dhoni.
Shaun Marsh (99) had to witness a tragic end to his wonderful innings as he was dismissed run-out by Virat Kohli merely one run short of a worthy hundred.
The declaration was expected after Marsh's wicket, However, Australia continued to bat on for another over before calling-off their innings by setting an impossible target of 384 runs for the visitors.
Playing for the draw from the start, India got off to a worst possible start by losing three wickets in a span of eight overs.
Shikhar Dhawan (0) was trapped lbw by Ryan Harris (2-30) in the second over of the innings giving Australia a perfect opening.
Lokesh Rahul (1) exercised his longing to play adventurous shots early in the innings as he perished trying to take on a short delivery of Mitchell Johnson (2-38) and ended up edging it to Watson at first slip.
Murali Vijay (11) was trapped lbw by Josh Hazlewood (2-40) as India sunk further.
India's first innings saviors Ajinkya Rahane (48) and Virat Kohli (54) once again came to their side's rescue with a 85-run partnership stand for the fourth wicket.
The partnership produced many exciting moments, including some high voltage banter between Kohli-Harris, Kohli-Haddin and Kohli-Johnson.
Kohli reached his tenth Test career fifty before being dismissed for 54 runs by Harris post tea break. Kohli played a casual flick shot on the very first ball of the final session, which landed straight into the safe hands of Joe Burns.
Out-of-form Cheteshwar Pujara (21) had a jittery stay in the center, which wobbled further after taking a hit on his helmet from a bouncer by Johnson. He failed to read an off-cutter from Johnson which castled his off-stump.
Rahane had a momentary lapse in concentration which cost him his wicket. He failed to execute a pull of a short delivery by Hazlewood as India still had about 15 overs to play for the draw.
India's last recognized pair, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (24) and Ravichandran Ashwin (8) negotiated 11 overs before Australia took a surprising decision to draw the Test match with four overs to spare.
Ryan Harris was awarded the man of the match award for his all-round performance with bat and ball.
The game surely ended raising more than a few questions about the decisions taken by the Australian team throughout the day's play.
However, with this draw Australia has secured the four Test match series by taking an unassailable 2-0 lead with the final Test match scheduled to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on January 6.
© Cricket World 2014