Third Test, Melbourne: Day 5 – Draw seals Australian series win

"There was some late criticism in the match being called off with four overs left to bowl in the day. 435.2 overs were bowled for the Test, yet the last four were deemed superfluous. Memories must be so short that Michael Clarke’s three wickets in five balls to win the spiteful Sydney Test in January 2008 didn’t even register..." Image: ABC Grandstand

“There was some late criticism in the match being called off with four overs left to bowl in the day. Memories must be so short that Michael Clarke’s three wickets in five balls to win in Sydney in 2008 didn’t even register…” Image: ABC Grandstand

Indian Captain MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket immediately after the Test, but didn't think to mention it in the press conference. Image: ABC Grandstand

Indian Captain MS Dhoni retired from Test cricket immediately after the Test, but didn’t think to mention it in the press conference. Image: ABC Grandstand

The New Daily: It threatened to finish in a thriller, but in the end Australia and India conceded the stalemate late on Day 5, with the Boxing Day Test finishing in a draw for the first time since South Africa held out on the last day back in 1997.

It would be very easy to conclude that Australia batting for all of the morning session was the major reason the Test finished in the anticlimax that it did. Shaun Marsh and Ryan Harris had added just 40 runs in the 18 overs before Harris was out for 21, less than five overs before lunch.

But by batting on, Steven Smith removed any risk of losing the Test and keeping the series alive heading into the Fourth Test next week, with a draw also ensuring Australia could not lose, or have India draw the series and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Day 5: Australia resumed 7/261, leading by 326.

AUSTRALIA 9 dec/318 (S.Marsh 99; Mohammed Shami 2/92)

INDIA 6/174 (V.Kohli 54, A.Rahane 48; R.Harris 2/30, M.Johnson 2/38, J.Hazlewood 2/40)

Match drawn.

Third Test, Melbourne: Day 4 – Australia close in on series win

Shaun Marsh finished 62 not out, his first Test fifty in Australia and nearly doubling his previous highest score at home. Image: ABC Grandstand

Shaun Marsh finished 62 not out, his first Test fifty in Australia and nearly doubling his previous highest score at home. Image: ABC Grandstand

The New Daily: An interesting discussion popped up on social media during the lengthy second session rain break on Day 4, and it provided a very interesting snapshot of an Indian team that may well be improving its batting in parts, but still has a nagging issue.

With India already needing 327 to win, and more than 90 overs available to make them, the Third Test is set up beautifully.

But with such a history of Indian collapse in 2014 – they’ve collapsed in some shape or form in nine of the ten Tests they’ve played – Australia will have a real feeling of confidence tomorrow that taking the top five wickets will see the tail again offering little resistance.

STUMPS, Day 4: India resumed 8/462, trailing by 68.

INDIA 465 (M.Johnson 3/135)

AUSTRALIA 7/261 (C.Rogers 69, S.Marsh 62*; I.Sharma 2/49, R.Ashwin 2/56), and lead by 326 runs.

Third Test, Melbourne: Day 3 – Rahane, Kohli test Captain Smith

Virat Kohli (left) congratulates Ajinkya Rahane on his hundred in Melbourne today. The pair added 262 for the 4th wicket. Image: ABC Grandstand

Virat Kohli (left) congratulates Ajinkya Rahane on his hundred in Melbourne today. The pair added 262 for the 4th wicket. Image: ABC Grandstand

For the most part, Steve Smith had a tough Day 3...

For the most part, Steve Smith had a tough Day 3…

The New Daily: One of the features of Steven Smith’s captaincy across the six whole days of his reign, up until the start of the day’s play, has been his evident willingness to attack at any given opportunity.

When he’s batting, this is obvious, and with the possible exception of Brendon McCullum, there may not be any other Test batsman in better form currently than Smith.

It’s also been abundantly clear when in the field, when Smith and his bowlers have deployed attacking fields, and bowled very well to those attacking fields to date.

For large chunks of Day 3, things didn’t go well for Steve Smith

STUMPS, Day 3: India resumed 1/108, trailing by 422.

INDIA 8/462 (V.Kohli 169, A.Rahane 147; R.Harris 4/69, N/Lyon 2/108); Australia lead by 68.

Third Test, Melbourne: Day 1 – Watson extends the career, again

“This innings had the full set: out lbw, shortly after reaching a milestone, just before a break in play, and immediately after a useful partnership had been broken, leaving two new batsmen to start again.” Image: ABC Grandstand

The New Daily: If it was Chris Rogers playing the career-extending innings in Brisbane last week, on Boxing Day it was Shane Watson who found the timeliest of scores.

Watson raised his first Test fifty of 2014 just after Lunch, his highest score since making an unbeaten 83 against England in the Boxing Day Test of 2013. However, just when you thought he was set, he was out plumb LBW for 52, attempting to sweep Ravi Ashwin.

It was the archetypal Watson innings, therefore. It left the Watson fans proof that he was still capable of scoring runs when it mattered, while simultaneously, the detractors were lining up to say ‘see, I told you so’. Like most Shane Watson debates, both sides are correct to a degree.

Stumps, Day 1: AUSTRALIA 5/259 (S.Smith 72*, C.Rogers 57; Mohammed Shami 2/55, U.Yadev 2/69)