Australia, after winning the toss and posting 451 runs in the first innings with help from the consistent Steve Smith and comeback man Glenn Maxwell, did not begin well with the ball as the Indian opening pair of Murali Vijay and KL Rahul added 91 runs for the first wicket. Cheteshwar Pujara then joined Vijay at the crease and played a marathon knock that lasted 668 minutes and 525 balls.
It made him the first Indian player to face 500 balls in a Test innings. Vijay, on the other hand, missed a century while Virat Kohli's poor form continued. And after Ajinkya Rahane's dismissal, it was imperative for Pujara and Wriddiman Saha to take India close to Australia's total. They not only did that but also helped India take a lead of 152 runs in the first innings.
Ravindra Jadeja then took two wickets in the final session of day four to leave the visitors in a spot of bother. It was tough for Australia to save the match on the fifth day as they lost their captain Steve Smith and in-form young Matthew Renshaw before lunch but Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb played well under pressure and managed to force a draw. What it meanis is that the fourth Test at Dharamsala will now be a series decider of sorts.
This was the first Test drawn by Australia in Asia since that against Sri Lanka at Colombo (SSC) in 2011. Jadeja, however, missed out on becoming the first Indian player to score a fifty and take two five-wicket hauls in a Test match.
Let's now look at some of the records that were created and broken in the third Test of the series between India and Australia played at India's 27th Test venue, Ranchi.
The draw at Ranchi meant Australia failed to win their 800th Test. They had won all their milestone matches except their 700th and 800th Tests, both against India.
Australia pacer Pat Cummins made a comeback in Test cricket after five years and 113 days and took four wickets in the match. He had made his debut in 2011 against South Africa at Johannesburg and after that match, had missed 64 Tests. Cummins is now at the fifth place in the list of Australian players who have missed most Tests between two successive appearances.
Australian skipper Steve Smith became the 20th player from his country to score 5,000 runs in Tests and also became the youngest Australian batsman to do so. He took 97 innings to score those runs which is also an Australian record. Former captain Ricky Ponting who had reached the milestone in 110 innings had held the record before Smith.
The Australian captain scored 178 unbeaten runs in the first innings. It was his sixth century against India and fifth as an Australian captain. Only Clive Lloyd had scored more centuries against India in Tests. It was the 19th century of his Test career. It came in his 97th innings which made him the fourth quickest to hit 19 Test centuries. The record in this regard is held by Don Bradman who completed 19 Test centuries in 53 innings.
Smith also became the third Australian captain to post two 150-plus scores against India in Tests. Bradman and Michael Clarke are the other players to have achieved the feat. Smith's unbeaten 178 is the highest by an Australian captain in a Test in India and the third highest overall. It also made him the fifth visiting captain to score 150-plus runs in an innings in India and the only Australian captain to score two centuries in a Test series in India.
One can also not forget the contribution made by Glenn Maxwell. Considered by and large a limited overs specialist, Maxwell scored his maiden Test century in Ranchi. He became the 13th player overall and the second Australian to score centuries across all formats and is the fourth quickest to achieve the landmark. Shane Watson is the other Australian player to have scored a century in all three formats of international cricket.
Vijay and Pujara have now added 2,531 runs from 37 Test innings at an average of 68.40. It made them the 11th Indian pair to add 2,500 runs in Tests. They are also the quickest Indian pair to achieve the milestone.
Pujara scored his second double century against Australia in this Test which is the joint most by an Indian player, with VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar having done it before him. During the course of the innings, Pujara also broke Younis Khan's record of playing the most deliveries in a Test innings in India. The Pakistan legend had faced 504 balls during the third Test of the series at Bengaluru in 2005.
The Ranchi double ton was Pujara's second of the 2016-17 first class season. This was his 11th first class double century which is the joint most by an Indian player in first class cricket. Pujara became the fourth Indian player after Mohinder Amarnath, Sunil Gavaskar and Mohammad Azharuddin to score 2,000 runs in a first class season, and boasts of a tally of 2,007 runs in the 2016-17 season at an average of 87.26.
Pujara got strong support from wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, and the two added 199 runs for the seventh wicket, which is now the highest partnership for India in Tests against Australia for that wicket, bettering the 132-run stand between Vijay Hazare and Hemu Adhikari which came at Adelaide in 1948. During this partnership, Saha completed his third Test century which is now the second most among Indian wicketkeepers in Tests.
Australian spinner Steve O'Keefe, on the other hand, bowled 77 overs in India's first innings which is the most by a visiting bowler in Asia and the sixth most by an Australian bowler in a Test innings. Tom Veivers holds the record of bowling most number of overs for Australia in a Test innings having bowled 95.1 overs against England at Manchester in 1964.
Jadeja picked up nine wickets in the match and is now at the second place in the list of bowlers taking most wickets in a Test season. His spin partner Ravichandran Ashwin picked up a wicket in the match and equalled Dale Steyn's tally of wickets in a Test season which is the most by any bowler.