Ranchi: Batsmen Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb held the fort to raise Australia's hopes of salvaging a draw against India on the final day of the third Test in Ranchi on Monday.
The tourists were 149 for four at tea with Marsh on 38 and Handscomb on 44, trailing India by three runs in their second innings.
The duo put on an unbeaten 86-run stand to thwart India's bowling attack that struck twice in the morning session.
Both Marsh and Handscomb shared eight boundaries between them as they outmanoeuvred the Indian spinners with good feet movement.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja, who claimed the prized scalp of skipper Steve Smith (21), kept the batsmen on tenterhooks but failed to get a breakthrough in the afternoon session.
Earlier quick bowler Ishant Sharma trapped Matt Renshaw lbw for 15, but it was Smith's wicket that brought a raucous home crowd to its feet after a quiet first hour of play.
Smith, who scored an unbeaten 178 in Australia's first innings score of 451, tried to pad away a vicious turning delivery from Jadeja but it spun from outside leg to rattle the right-handed batsman's off stump.
Virat Kohli's world-leading side seized control of the match on Sunday after declaring their first innings on 603 for nine, a lead of 152 runs over Australia.
The four-match series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is tied 1-1.
Published Date: Mar 20, 2017 14:53 PM | Updated Date: Mar 20, 2017 14:53 PM