India drew the final game to the end the series 2-0. A win was always a possibility with Virat Kohli at the crease and wickets in hand, but once again a bad session crushed India’s chances just as it had done through the entire series.
At Lunch on day five of the final test series, India require 276 runs with nine wickets in hand. The morning session got off to a steady start for India, Lokesh Rahul and Murali Vijay made a decent start. Nathan Lyon was the man to break the partnership and this brought Rohit Sharma. The first ball must have sent a chill down the Indian captain’s spine as Sharma missed the ball and was almost stumped by Brad Haddin.
Vijay and Sharma went through a drought as five maidens were bowled by Australia with a beautiful spell from Josh Hazlewood. Sharma was stuck on zero for a while and Australia looked like they were working up to a wicket. However Sharma finally got off the mark and went on to play some beautiful shots of Nathan Lyon’s bowling.
Once again though, India hit another rough patch, with just over 50 overs to go, Vijay was dropped at short cover by Shaun Marsh. You could see the anguish on Steve Smith’s face as the chance to break the partnership was fumbled. Soon after (as he usually does between 20-40 runs) Sharma played a loose shot on 39 and Steve Smith made absolutely no mistake at slip. This brought in India’s best hope. The Captain. Captain Kohli was there again as he was in Adelaide, could he pull India over the line this time? Murali Vijay got another reprieve as a lbw was not given out. India were wobbling and if another wicket had fallen, Australia might have ended the series 3-0.
With Kohli and Vijay at the crease India added another 74 runs to the total and India were looking set to end on a high. That was until the third session began. India needed 189 runs with eight wickets in hand. Vijay was caught behind by Haddin when India were on 178 and from there it began to look like a classic Indian collapse. Five wickets fell for 39 runs, with Suresh Raina getting his second duck of the test.
However this tail would not give up so easily. It was a much stronger tail than the one that faced Australia in Adelaide and they would not give up without a fight, especially with Ajinkya Rahane at the other end to guide them. Rahane and Bhuvneshwar Kumar faced almost 12 overs and played beautifully. None of Smith’s bowlers could break the partnership. Rahane in particular was impressive, he stayed calm and collect and was not drawn into playing an unnecessary shot. As a player who likes to get off to a flyer he showed some new colours, ones that India will be glad to see more of.
Though India did not win the test, they had improved from Adelaide. They began the fourth session positively with a win in mind but they did not allow one bad session to cost them the entire five day match.