The Indian team has pulled off yet another game in Australia that is sure to go down in the history books as an epic show of defensive skills in a Test match. After the epic low of the 1st Test saw them bowled out for a sad 36 - an unwanted milestone - the Indian team came back with a roaring win in the second Test. Having set India a massive total of 407 runs, the 3rd Test was by all standards, Australia's game to lose. If the captain's speeches after the match are an indication, the draw was as good as a loss for the hosts.
After an unusually civil set of Test matches in Adelaide and Melbourne and amidst growing unease regarding the 4th Test, Aussie captain Tim Paine has declared the sledging wars open. With India facing a spate of injuries to key players like Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja, the Aussies would have hoped to make quick work of the visitors and go up 2-1 in the Border Gavaskar Trophy series. While India may have, for one minute dreamed of chasing down the mighty number, Pant's dismissal at 97 and Hanuma Vihari's injury left them a tad too much to do.
However, needing just 5 wickets to seal the deal - an easy task when you boast one of the best fast-bowling lineups in the world - the Aussies still had an easy way forward. With R Ashwin and Vihari hoping to bat out the remaining over without bringing in the weak tailend, Tim Paine and co. tried every trick in the book hoping for that split second that their bowlers could take advantage of. However, Ravichandran Ashwin matched Paine word-to-word and it seems that the latter's sledge rather backfired on him as it ended with the skipper dropping not one or two, but three match-changing catches.
"It's a tough one to swallow, particularly given my situation. I thought our bowlers were superb all day. Marnie and Nathan tried everything, the quicks were awesome. Just didn't hold our catches, myself in particular, so we're going to cop the blame for that and wear it and move on to Brisbane" Paine said in a post-match interview.
Meanwhile, Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane - who still remains undefeated - has provided an update on Rishabh Pant's injury, by saying that, "Rishabh is all right. Injuries, I think, we cannot control. We are just focusing on the Brisbane Test match". Rahane also credited Pant with making the most of his promotion to No.5 in today's game. "It was all about a left-hand-right-hand combination in the middle that worked out really well for us. Credit to [Pant], the way he batted; attacking innings, backed himself really well".
With Pant's news being confirmed by Rahane, it makes life tougher for Australia ahead of the series-decider at The Gabba in Brisbane as the Test match begins from January 15. Interestingly, Australia have not lost in Brisbane since 1988, making it a thrilling finale.
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