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India will be hurt by Ranchi Test draw - Steven Smith

Shaun Marsh (right) and Peter Handscomb (left) were the heroes for Australia on the final day
Shaun Marsh (right) and Peter Handscomb (left) were the heroes for Australia on the final day

Australia captain Steven Smith believes the draw on the final day of the recently concluded third Test in Ranchi will hurt India heading into the final game of the series in Dharamsala.

Australia came into bat on day five at 23 for two, trailing India's first innings total by 129 runs. The home side's hopes raised when Matt Renshaw and Steven Smith was dismissed just after the first hour of play but Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh defied the Indian attack with a 124-run stand and also negating over 60 overs in the process to earn a hard fought draw for the visitors.

The result also meant that India will be in a must-win situation in the final game in Dharamsala to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy while Australia will be content with a draw.

"If there's anything called momentum in cricket it's probably with us at the moment," said Smith in the post match conference.

"India, coming here today, would have expected to bowl us out.

"So I'm sure they're hurting a little bit. Momentum is probably on our side at the minute, but having said that it’s one-all and we're playing a decider in Dharamsala."

Smith also had high praise for Handscomb and Marsh, who played almost 200 deliveries each and showed a lot of resilience on the fifth day track which had rough aiding Indian spinners especially Ravindra Jadeja.

"Very proud. They had magnificient plans. They backed their defense for long periods of time to see the game out for as long as they did was an outstanding performance.

"I'm really proud of the way they did that. That's one of the things we've been talking about - being resilient and sticking out the tough times. The way Petey and Shaun did that was magnificent."

Speaking about his own dismissal and that of Renshaw, Smith admitted that there were concerns on two set batsmen being dismissed in succession but insisted that he had belief on the players to come.

"It wasn't ideal to lose two set batters at once.

"That's one thing we always talk about here in India to not lose wickets in clumps. It wasn't ideal but I have faith in the boys behind me.

"Peter's looked very good in every game so far without going on to make a score. Today the way he did that, his 70* is worth 150 in my eyes. I thought he played beautifully and Shaun as well, they stuck to their plans throughout and never shied away from it."

The series deciding final Test will kick-off in Dharamsala on 25th March.

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