Monday, 11 January 2021 10:13

Staff Reporter.

India showed incredible defiance to bat out the final day in a memorable draw with Australia in the third Test and take a thrilling series into a decider.

The tourists resumed on 98-2, chasing an unlikely 407 to win, and lost captain Ajinkya Rahane early on.

Rishabh Pant countered with a sublime 97 and Cheteshwar Pujara dug in for 77 during an absorbing second session in which it seemed India could even pull off the third highest fourth-innings chase in Test history.

But after both fell before tea to leave Australia needing five wickets in the final session, Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin battled superbly to survive 258 balls to steer India to 334-5 at the close.

Vihari's unbeaten 23 off 161 balls was even more impressive given he batted for most of his innings with a hamstring injury, while Ashwin made 39 off 128 balls.

Australia captain Tim Paine dropped three catches behind the stumps, while his vaunted fast bowlers and off-spinner Nathan Lyon toiled.

The series remains level at 1-1 heading into the fourth and final Test in Brisbane starting on 15 January.

India need only a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, while Australia will look to secure victory on a ground where they have not lost a Test since 1988.