Melbourne, Dec 30: Australia today regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after the third Test ended in an exciting draw with a jittery India just about managing to avoid an embarrassing defeat here.
Set an improbable target of 384 in 70 overs courtesy Shaun Marsh's 99, India's batting frailty was again exposed and they survived some anxious moments before salvaging a draw. It ensured that India won't suffer a 'whitewash' this time around. (Gavaskar disagrees with Shastri's 'nonsense')
India finished at a nervous 174 for six before both the captains decided call off play with four overs remaining, bringing an end to a gripping Test match. Australia needed a draw to regain the coveted trophy and batted out the first session to shut the door on India's chances of a possible victory.
With this draw, Australia maintained their unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series. The fifth day's play expectedly turned out to be an intriguing contest between bat and ball and had Australians given themselves some more time, they could have even pulled off a victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
When play was called off after 66 overs, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (24 no) and Ravichandran Ashwin (8 no) survived 11 tense overs to bring closure. The highlight of the Indian innings was an 85-run fourth wicket stand between Virat Kohli (54) and Ajinkya Rahane (48) after three quick wickets saw them reeling at 19 for three at one stage.
Shikhar Dhawan (0) had another failure while Murali Vijay (11) didn't fire this time round. KL Rahul's baptism by fire cost his wicket as his atrocious shot selection for the second time raised doubts about his temperament at the highest level.
It was first innings centurions Kohli and Rahane, who brought about the stability. Kohli hit seven boundaries in his 99-ball innings while Rahane also showed composure during his three hour and 16 minute stay at the wicket hitting six fours.
Cheteshwar Pujara (21) was done in by a beautiful slower from Mitchell Johnson but Dhoni and Ashwin saw to it that India were safe at the end of the day. The final Test will be held at Sydney from January 6.