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Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Australia surge after Kohli-Rahane special

India 8 for 462 (Kohli 169, Rahane 147) trail Australia 530 by 68 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

For one minute short of four hours, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli made the future of Indian Test cricket look very bright indeed. For the two hours or so either side, the rest of the touring side confirmed why that future is still some way short of being realised.

A hot and occasionally hot-tempered third day at the MCG had numerous fluctuations. First Australia prospered with a pair of early wickets to hasty strokes from Cheteshwar Pujara and M Vijay, and later they did so again through Nathan Lyon's persevering spin and a sharp spell of reverse swing from the admirable Ryan Harris.

But its centrepiece was a stand of 262 between Rahane and Kohli, a union that was both substantial enough to leave Steven Smith wondering where his next wicket was coming from but also swift enough to keep open the prospect of an outright result in this match, which India must win to stay in contention for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Rahane set the tone of the partnership, skating past 30 at better than a run a ball to shift momentum away from Australia. Kohli was a little more collected, but carried on beyond the loss of his partner and other members of India's exceedingly collapsible tail to 169, his highest Test score. It was not until the last over of the day that Kohli fell, his edge clasped by a diving Brad Haddin.

The second exceptional Haddin catch of the day contrasted with some rather indifferent fielding by Australia through mid-afternoon, when at least three chances went down. Nathan Lyon missed the gentlest of return catches from Rahane in the final over before the second new ball became due, and after Mitchell Johnson took it an edge from Kohli's bat was grassed by Shane Watson, diving to his left and into territory commonly reserved for Haddin.

Australian frustration with the Rahane-Kohli partnership was illustrated when Johnson fired a return at the stumps and caught Kohli in the lower back - words were exchanged at other times, and any visible acknowledgement of the Indian pair's hundreds could best be described as low key. They were more generous to Rahane upon his departure, and Kohli was applauded by all sections of the ground as he led the players off at stumps.

Pujara had seemed unusually eager to see bat on ball, and from Harris' second ball of the morning he aimed an uncharacteristic cut/glide to a ball he would have often left. The edge was thick and Haddin flew through the air, the milestone dismissal among his more spectacular, atoning for dropping the same batsman the previous evening.

Kohli was greeted by some fast stuff from Harris and Mitchell Johnson, but it was Vijay who was struck by the latter on the helmet with a short ball that reared up in defiance of an easy-paced pitch. Vijay shrugged off the blow, though its proximity to the rear of his head and neck made for a queasy replay viewing.

He had played and missed at more than his share of deliveries during another innings of otherwise calm temper, but he became impatient when teased by Watson's line and medium pace. Aiming a cut shot similar to Pujara's, he too offered a thick outside edge that this time sailed as far as Shaun Marsh at first slip.

This wicket seemed to tilt the morning towards Australia, but Kohli and Rahane responded with a counterattack of considerable verve. Rahane wasted very little time, and after a fortunate first boundary which bisected Haddin and Watson from a Lyon away-drifter, he struck a quartet far more convincing to help raise a 50-stand in as many minutes.

They went on with it in the afternoon, mixing some handsome and inventive strokes with eager running between the wickets and manipulation of Smith's fields. The certainty with which Rahane and Kohli played seemed to work against Australian concentration, so when chances arrived they were not quite sharp enough to take them.

Lyon in particular will wonder for a long time how he managed to hash Rahane's bunted return catch: in the 80th over of the innings it would have been a pivotal blow. But the miss allowed the stand to go on past tea, and to a point where India began to ponder a first-innings lead.

Ultimately it was Lyon who broke the stand, winning an lbw verdict from Kumar Dharmasena against a sweeping Rahane, though replays suggested the ball had not straightened enough to flick off stump. Having waited so long for his debut innings, KL Rahul's stay was short but action-filled as he was dropped by substitute Peter Siddle when he tried to flick Lyon over midwicket, then held at short fine leg when trying an ambitious sweep next ball.

Harris gained some sharp bend and proved too good for both Dhoni and R Ashwin, before a somewhat off-key Johnson tempted Kohli into error in the day's final over. With Rahane, Kohli had made this India's day, but the less flattering passages either side of their stand meant the match may still lean towards Australia.

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Home field advantage

13

This draw ends 13 consecutive Tests between Australia and India all won by the home side, going back to a draw in Delhi, October 2008

Rare Draw Coming Up?

17

Number of years since a Test has been drawn at the MCG. The last drawn Test was between SA and Aus in 1997

Just Missing Out

499

Runs scored by Virat Kohli in this series. No overseas No. 4 batsmen has scored 500 runs in a series in Australia.

Run batsmen run

57

Number of 3s run by batsmen in this Test (at tea). Since 2001, the record for the most 3s in a Test is 58 (Aus v Ind, Adelaide, 2003)

A Boatload

848

Runs scored by Australia in this Test, the third-most by either team in Tests between India and Australia

Don't Run on 99 at the MCG!

3

Shaun Marsh's is the 3rd instance of an Australia batsman getting run out on 99 - all three of them have come at the MCG.

Indian Record

9

Number of dismissals collected by MS Dhoni in this Test - India's record for the most dismissals in a Test by a wicketkeeper.

Declare already?

234

Most runs scored on day 5 by a team batting fourth at the MCG in the last 40 years.

Maiden at home

0

Number of fifties Shaun Marsh had got in nine Test innings in Australia before today.

Ishant joins a club

8

Number of Indian bowlers who have taken 300+ international wickets; Ishant Sharma became the eighth

Bunny

7

Number of times Watson has been dismissed by Ishant Sharma in Tests, averaging 19.85 runs per dismissal.

Struggle

8.66

Shane Watson's batting average against R Ashwin in six Test innings; has been dismissed thrice in 55 balls.

Better later

41.70

Chris Rogers' batting average in the second innings as opposed to his average of 30.50 in the first.

Second-innings specialists

4

Second-innings century stands by Rogers and Warner - no other pair has put on more such partnerships in Tests since 2000.