Monday 19 March 2018 / 08:11 AM

India hang on for draw on tense final day

India batted out the entire final day of the fourth Test at the SCG to hang on for a tense draw. Sent in by Australia when play commenced and facing a potentially gettable target of 348, the tourists finished at 7/252 as a late flurry of wickets set up a hectic finish.

India got off to a positive start, but when Lokesh Rahul was caught in close off Nathan Lyon with the score at 48, it put the brakes on their innings. Rohit Sharma narrowly survived a stumping referral while on 0 and eventually went on to make 39 for his team’s cause. He was out to stunning full-stretch catch by Steve Smith at first slip.

Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli put on the biggest partnership of the day – 74 for the third wicket – before the opener fell for 80, caught behind off Josh Hazlewood.

With seven wickets in hand and 30 overs remaining, India looked assured of survival.

But Kohli (46), Suresh Raina (0) and Wriddinham Saha (0) were all dismissed in the space of 26 balls, before Ravi Ashwin went for 1 with 12 overs still to play.

Ajinkya Rahane (38 not out) and Bhuvneshar Kumar (20 not out) calmly saw India through to stumps to clinch the drawn result, however, after a day’s play that both teams could justifiably feel satisfied with, Australia finishing as 2-0 series victors.

Stud of the day

Murali Vijay’s gritty 165-ball innings ensured India always looked likely to hang on for the draw.

Stud of the match

Top-scoring in both of Australia’s innings with 117 and 71 respectively, combined with brilliant fielding and fine leadership, captain Smith was an obvious man-of-the-match choice.

Stud of the series

No contest: Smith was unbelievable throughout the series. He averaged 128 with the bat – including a century in each of the four Tests, plus another two 50s – and slotted into the skipper’s role seamlessly. An individual series performance for the ages.

Looking ahead

Attention now shifts to the one-day format as Australia, India and England face of a World Cup warm-up Tri-Series. Australia’s side is far from settled, and this upcoming set of matches could have a big bearing on their Cup campaign.

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