Sydney:India have hung on for a gritty draw against Australia in the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday to leave the series deadlocked at 1-1.Tim Paine's side was in the box seat at tea on day five with the tourists 280/5, chasing a target of 407.
But Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari combined to frustrate the locals, the pair digging in to navigate a tense final session to guide their team to 334/5 and a famous draw.Ashwin finished with 39 (128) and Vihari, who was hobbled by a hamstring injury, batted for 160 balls for his 23.
Australia were left to rue a missed opportunity with just under 10 overs remaining when Paine dropped Vihari off the bowling of Mitchell Starc.India resumed at 98/2 on Monday, needing another 309 runs for victory after the Australian skipper declared at 312/6 at tea on day four.
After losing captain Ajinkya Rahane (4) in the second over of the final day, Rishabh Pant gave the tourists hope with a swashbuckling innings, including 12 fours and three sixes, propelling his side to 206/3 at lunch.
But he fell agonisingly short of a hard-fought century when he found Pat Cummins at point off the bowling of Nathan Lyon on 97 from just 118 balls, his departure ending a 148-run partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara.India needed 135 runs to win when Pujara's stubborn resistance ended on 77, with Josh Hazlewood beating the bat to send the bails flying.
A 2-1 series lead was within Australia's grasp when Paine caught Ashwin off the first ball after tea, but the on-field decision was overturned on review.The courageous rear-guard action of Ashwin and Vihari was a fitting finale for an enthralling five days of Test cricket.
Having won the toss, a superb 131 to Steve Smith was the cornerstone of Australia's first-innings total of 338, with Ravindra Jadeja (4/62) the pick of India's bowlers.Cummins did the damage with figures of 4/29 as India were bowled out for 244, Shubman Gill and Pujara each scoring half-centuries.
Smith (81) was amongst the runs again as the home side looked to build a match-winning lead and youngster Cameron Green (84) top-scored with his first Test half-century.The teams have little time to regroup following the gruelling encounter, with the fourth Test to get underway at the Gabba from Friday.(UNI)