By Robert Smith ,AFP
MELBOURNE — Australia regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after India hung on for a tense draw in the third Test in Melbourne on Tuesday. India were never in the hunt on the final day after Australia took till lunch to declare at 318 for nine, leaving them to chase 384 runs for victory off 70 overs. Their task became even more herculean when they were reduced to 19 for three in the ninth over and from there it was a matter of survival. The match was called off with four overs remaining when India were 174 for six with M.S. Dhoni on 24 and Ravi Ashwin on eight. The Australians have won the four-match series with one Test left to play in Sydney next week after winning in Adelaide and Brisbane.
The draw means that India have not won at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for 33 years. India resisted for a time through Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane, who shared in a record 262-run stand in the first innings, but once Kohli was dismissed to break an 85-run partnership, pressure again mounted on the tourists, who have a notorious reputation for lower-order batting collapses. Kohli was out to a poor shot on the first ball after tea, spooning a catch straight to Joe Burns at square leg off Ryan Harris for 54. Mitchell Johnson then bowled Cheteshwar Pujara (21) with a gem of a delivery, straightening off the pitch to crash into off-stump. Johnson rattled Pujara with a short-pitched snorter into the grille of his helmet and then two balls later produced his wicket-taking delivery to leave the tourists at 141 for five with 18 overs left. Rahane mistimed a pull shot off Josh Hazlewood to Shaun Marsh for 48 off 117 balls to expose the India tail with 14 overs remaining.