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India-Australia third Test ends in draw
Our Correspondent | November 02, 2008 11:57 IST
Last Updated: November 02, 2008 19:33 IST
There are two things for which an otherwise dull and drab third Test at the Ferozshah Kotla will be remembered: Anil Kumble's [Images] decision to retire from international cricket and an end to a winning streak.
Kumble decided to bid farewell at a venue that was close to his heart and rewarding -- 58 wickets in seven Tests.
Kotla also happened to be a productive ground for the home side. India had won seven straight Tests at the venue in the last 15 years -- their best at any ground -- and had last lost a Test here way back in 1987, against the West Indies [Images]. For the record, the last drawn Test at the venue happened 22 years back, in September 1986, and the two teams involved were the same as this Test.
Kotla, famous for being a ground that produced results and blockbuster wins for India, had changed the script. And it was not a welcome change but rather tepid melodrama.
Morning session: (Runs: 56, Overs: 27, Wickets: 2)
Resuming at their overnight score of 43 for 2, India added ten more runs to their total before also making a third addition to their tally of wickets lost.
Rahul Dravid [Images] was the casualty -- losing his stumps to a 149 kmph scorcher from Brett Lee [Images]. He made exactly what he had in the first essay -- 11. And also ensured the debate about his retirements will continue unabated. To put it bluntly, the writing is on 'The Wall.'
Lee, on the other hand, took two wickets in an innings for the first time in the series -- he had five scalps in five innings before this -- and is now just four short of 300 Tests wickets.
Gautam Gambhir [Images] (36) and Tendulkar put on a 40-run stand for the fourth wicket before the former was given leg before though the replays suggested the ball would definitely have missed the line.
Nonetheless, it was a birthday present for Mitchell Johnson, who turned 27 on Sunday. He is now the highest wicket-taker in the series, on either side, with 12 scalps to his credit.
Tendulkar and Laxman carried India through to lunch after a session that yielded just 56 runs.
Post-Lunch Session: (Runs: 94, Overs: 29, Wickets: 1)
This session offered more of the same. Resuming at 99 for 4, Tendulkar and Laxman put up a 52-run partnership for the fifth wicket and took the score to 145 before the former blinked.
Just three short of his half-century, Tendulkar edged a Cameron White straight to Matthew Hayden [Images] at first slip. It was the second occasion in the series that White had snapped up Tendulkar -- the latter also happened to be White's first Test wicket. Tendulkar's patient 120-ball knock had just four boundaries.
Laxman and Ganguly upped the ante a bit. Runs came at a faster rate and the number of hits to the fence increased. The latter also hit a huge six off White.
Laxman soon reached his 36th Test fifty, his ninth against Australia [Images], with a boundary off Clarke. The veteran had now scored in excess of 250 runs in this Test (200 not out in the first innings) without being dismissed.
And without any sort of pressure both these batsmen were certainly enjoying their time on the field. The sixth wicket partnership had yielded 48 so far as the match drifted towards a tame draw.
The final session started without any clear indication. The Indian batsmen were uncertain about how long they were supposed to bat and were seen constantly looking at the dressing room, expecting a declaration any moment.
However, before the impending declaration came the news of Anil Kumble's retirement. The captain, leading in what was his last match, finally asked his batsmen to come over. India had declared at 208 for five and set Australia a target of 245.
VVS Laxman was unbeaten on 59 and Sourav Ganguly [Images] on 32 when India decided to put the Australian in again. The fifth wicket partnership had yielded 63 runs and India had batted for more than two sessions.
A win was, therefore, out of question. However, Australia started on an aggressive note, scoring at almost five an over. But play was called off when they were 31 for no loss in eight overs. Matthew Hayden remained unbeaten on 16 (4 x 4) and Simon Katich was unbeaten on 14 (2 x 4).
The fourth Test begins in Nagpur on November 6.
Complete coverage: Australia in India 2008
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