Cricket Australia Items/news/2013/3/18/gallant-australia-fall-short

Gallant Australia fall short

UPDATED 31 July, 2014 9:39AM AEST | by Omnisport 64

India captain MS Dhoni hit three fours in a row to guide his side to a nervous six-wicket victory over Australia in the third Test in Mohali.

Dhoni (18 not out) struck the winning runs with 15 balls to spare in the match as India survived a tense final hour to chase down their victory target of 133 in their second innings.

While India had been widely expected to cruise to a third-straight victory for the series on Monday, the home team had to work hard as Australia hung on with the bat and then kept it tight with the ball to almost pull off an improbable draw.

Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc continued his fine match with the bat, scoring 35 batting at number 10, while Phil Hughes top-scored with 69.

Starc was, effectively, single-handedly responsible for Australia's lead ahead of India's second innings as he scored a total of 134 runs for the Test.

For India, Ravindra Jadeja finished the match with six wickets, while Virat Kohli (34) top-scored in the second innings to lead the hosts to a 3-0 lead in the series.

Australia started the final day on 3-75 with Hughes (53 not out) and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon (four not out) at the crease.

While Lyon was out in the seventh over of the day for 18, the tourists seemed to finally find some fortitude and held on for almost two sessions before Jadeja had Starc out caught to finish Australia's innings.

After three of Australia's top four were out for less than 10 on Sunday, all but one of their last seven batsmen reached double figures with Starc again leading a rearguard action, combining with Xavier Doherty (18 not out) for a 44-run last-wicket stand.

Jadeja took three wickets on Monday to finish with figures of 3-35 off 13.2 overs, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-31 off 10) was also handy with the ball.

With just over a session to bat, India were set 133 to win and looked to be cruising with Murali Vijay and stand-in opener Cheteshwar Pujara leading the hosts to 42 off just nine overs before the former was stumped by Brad Haddin for 26 off Doherty's bowling.

But when Virat Kohli (34) became the third Indian to lose his wicket, taking the score to 3-103 with nine overs remaining, the hosts seemed to get nervous and the runs dried up.

India scored just 13 runs off the next six overs as Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar struggled against tight bowling from Starc and Peter Siddle.

Ironically, David Warner's run out of Tendulkar (21) with just under four overs left seemingly cost Australia any chance of a draw, as Jadeja came to the crease and smashed two boundaries off his first four deliveries.

In the next over, Dhoni needed just three deliveries from Starc to wrap up the series for the home team.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia

First Posted 18 March, 2013 10:40PM AEST

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