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Blog: Australia vs India, Day 5, Melbourne Test

ABC News logo ABC News 30-12-2014 James Maasdorp and John Healy

THAT'S STUMPS! THE TEST IS DRAWN.

Australia retains the Border-Gavaskar trophy as captains Steve Smith and MS Dhoni meet in the middle and agree there's no chance of a result in this game with four overs remaining. The players shake hands, and that's that.

India ends 6-174, 210 runs away from victory. The run chase was never really on, but an Aussie victory looked a chance after three early wickets fell.

Virat Kohli (54) and Ajinkya Rahane (48) looked to see India home, but when Kohli fell to Ryan Harris (2-30) immediately after tea, the victory looked on. The wickets of Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara (21) had Australia dreaming of another Indian collapse, but it wasn't to be.

A lot will be said about Smith's declaration and whether or not it was too late, but as we saw, Australia had time, India was simply too solid in defence.

We'll be back for the fourth and final Test at the SCG, starting on January 6. Have a happy and safe New Year.

INDIA 6-174 (Ashwin 8*, Dhoni 24*) - needs 210 to win

Nathan Lyon is into the attack. He starts too wide and Ashwin's happy to let it go by outside off.

He pads up and it turns a bit, but not enough.

Lyon gets straight on the stumps and Ashwin defends nicely.

He comes around the wicket but bowls too full and Ashwin defends to mid-off. He comes back over the wicket straight away.

Ashwin turns three behind square.

INDIA 6-171 (Ashwin 5*, Dhoni 24*) - needs 213 to win

Shane Watson comes into the attack and Dhoni's immediately defending on the back foot.

He gets straighter and Dhoni whips off his hip for two runs behind square leg.

Dhoni sees out the rest of the over defensively.

6 OVERS LEFT

INDIA 6-169 (Ashwin 5*, Dhoni 22*) - needs 215 to win

Not yet, Mitchell Johnson continuing.

Ashwin ducks under a bouncer. He defends a couple more and looks pretty safe doing so.

Another wasted ball there. Too wide, just floating across Ashwin. He needs to get that about half a foot closer to off.

He comes around the wicket and bowls short immediately, but it's a bit too short and Ashwin easily fends it away.

Slightly better length, but the same result Ashwin defends the last ball of the over.

7 OVERS LEFT

Time for Nathan Lyon soon, surely.

INDIA 6-169 (Ashwin 5*, Dhoni 22*) - needs 215 to win

Hazlewood is continuing from the other end.

Dhoni shuffles across his stumps and snaps the bat down, keeping Hazlewood out.

He tries to drive hard through the off side but gets an inside edge and it bounces away harmlessly down the pitch.

HAMMERED!! Dhoni free his arms, cutting a short and wide Hazlewood delivery to the point boundary for four.

FOUR MORE! Dhoni flicks very fine off his pads and it races to the vacant boundary.

Harris moves from leg gully to leg slip, but Dhoni defends outside off to end the over.

INDIA 6-161 (Ashwin 5*, Dhoni 14*) - needs 223 to win

Mitchell Johnson will take over from Ryan Harris.

Four slips and a gully for Johnson to Dhoni, who defends the first ball solidly.

Dhoni prods one through cover and picks up two runs. Not that they matter now. Just looking to survive.

He adds three more with a flick off his pads behind square leg.

Johnson wastes a delivery to Ashwin, bowling too wide. Ashwin never even thought about playing that one.

Ashwin defends the last ball of the over.

INDIA 6-156 (Ashwin 5*, Dhoni 9*) - needs 228 to win

Hazlewood sends one down leg and a diving Haddin stops it. Ashwin tried to turn that for four but just missed getting an edge.

Ooooh. Ashwin anticipates in-swing, doesn't get it, and Hazlewood just misses the edge. Nervy times.

Another edge. Hazlewood gets one to bounce a bit higher and the balls props to the vacant short cover area off the shoulder of the bat.

He pushes at another one and sends it past mid-off for two runs to end the over.

INDIA 6-154 (Ashwin 3*, Dhoni 9*) - needs 230 to win

Oooh. Harris fires one at leg stump, Ashwin looks to turn it to leg but closes the face, gets a leading and it falls short of regulation cover.

Ashwin defends and it gets past short mid-on, allowing him to steal a single.

Dhoni defends the last ball of Harris' over.

INDIA 6-153 (Ashwin 2*, Dhoni 9*) - needs 231 to win

Hazlewood gets Ashwin's inside edge as he shapes in to him.

Ashwin negotiates the next short ball nicely.

Another ball swings in slightly and Ashwin flicks off his pads but there's a fielder behind square and no run on offer.

Ashwin retains the strike with a bunted single through point.

INDIA 6-152 (Ashwin 1*, Dhoni 9*) - needs 232 to win

BANG! Harris bowls wide to Dhoni, who cuts edgily for four past backward point.

EDGE! This one doesn't carry.

FOUR MORE! Smith stacks the off-side field, Harris goes short and wide, Dhoni hammers it through for four. Very gutsy. Or stupid.

He defends the rest of the over. Nervous times.

INDIA 6-144 (Ashwin 1*, Dhoni 1*) - needs 240 to win

Hazlewood continues to Ashwin, who gets an inside edge to square leg and gets off the mark with a single.

MS Dhoni pulls Hazlewood out behind square and they pick up another single.

EDGED AND DROPPED!! Dhoni pushes at one back of a length and outside off and it sails to Shane Watson's right. He dives and gets a hand to it. That did carry but would have needed to be an absolute screamer.

INDIA 6-142 (Ashwin 0*, Dhoni 0*) - needs 242 to win

Harris will bowl to Dhoni.

The skipper takes an ill-advised swat at one outside off and just misses edging to Haddin. That looked like a late decision to play that ball.

Harris tries a yorker to finish the over but it turns into a full toss and it's defended to cover.

RAHANE'S GONE FOR 48!! c Marsh b Hazlewood. IND 6-142 (Dhoni 0*) - needs 242 to win

Hazlewood goes short again and Rahane has pulled straight to Marsh at mid-wicket.

Rahane has been striking those pull shots beautifully all day and all of a sudden, he's sent one straight into Shaun Marsh's waiting hands.

That's a huge breakthrough. Ravichandran Ashwin is the next man in.

INDIA 5-142 (Rahane 48*, Dhoni 0*) - needs 242 to win

Hazlewood bowling, with a leg slip in place, to Rahane.

The in-form number five has no intention of attacking Hazlewood.

INDIA 5-142 (Rahane 48*, Dhoni 0*) - needs 242 to win

Harris coming in to bowl to Rahane.

Rahane gets a single off his pads behind square leg. Harris has one ball at Dhoni.

The skipper defends to end the over.

INDIA 5-141 (Rahane 47*, Dhoni 0*) - needs 243 to win

Johnson will bowl to Dhoni.

He starts with a poorly-directed bouncer, well past leg.

Dhoni chases one outside off and Warner tracks it down at short cover ... with his feet for some reason.

Johnson comes back over the wicket and immediately bounces Dhoni, who just sneaks under it.

And he's back around.

He bowls wide of off, and Dhoni leaves to end the over.

INDIA 5-141 (Rahane 47*, Dhoni 0*) - needs 243 to win

Rahane's beaten through the gate by a swinging Watson delivery.

Watson bowls a maiden with a couple tailing in a little bit.

PUJARA'S GONE FOR 21!! b Johnson. INDIA 5-141 (Rahana 47*) - needs 243 to win

Pujara's beaten by a ripper of a slower ball, cutting away and taking the off stump.

That cutter turned as much as anything Steve Smith has ever bowled. It was 125kph and absolutely unplayable.

Skipper MS Dhoni coming out to the crease.

INDIA 4-141 (Rahane 47*, Pujara 21*) - needs 243 to win

Rahane tries to pull a shorter ball from Johnson but he gets beaten by the slower ball and it just barely carries through to Haddin.

The second bouncer sees Rahane just get his head back and out of the way.

He just blocks the next ball but it sneaks past Warner and Rahane sneaks through for a single.

OUCH!! Pujara's beaten by the short ball and he's crowned. He ducked right into that one. Johnson checks to see if he's alright, and it appears he is.

Johnson follows up with another bouncer but it's too high and too wide outside leg. Wasted ball.

INDIA 4-140 (Rahane 46*, Pujara 21*) - needs 244 to win

Shane Watson into the attack. Haddin is up to the stumps.

He starts with a no ball, hitting the bails and the no-striker's end.

Rahane flicks off his pads for a single as one slides down leg.

Pujara tries to pad up to Watson outside off and it just sails wide of off stump.

Just one from the over.

INDIA 4-138 (Rahane 45*, Pujara 21*) - needs 246 to win

Mitchell Johnson is returning to the attack and Pujara defends the first delivery. He lets the second pass by, short and wide.

He pitches up and Pujara drives to mid-off.

Johnson's coming around the wicket to Pujara but he seemed to be posing more problems from over the wicket earlier.

Not much danger of a wicket in that over.

INDIA 4-138 (Rahane 45*, Pujara 21*) - needs 246 to win

Smith continuing to Pujara.

BOOF! Pujara cuts hard and it races away to the point boundary.

He turns Smith off his hip for a single behind square leg.

INDIA 4-133 (Rahane 45*, Pujara 16*) - needs 251 to win

Hazlewood gets short and wide, allowing Rahane to push the ball through point for three.

Hazlewood targets leg and Pujara gets off strike with a leg bye.

INDIA 4-129 (Rahane 42*, Pujara 16*) - needs 255 to win

Speaking of skipper Smith, he's brought himself into the attack.

He lands his first ball but his second his a bit too short and it's flicked for a single to mid-wicket.

FOUR! Pujara gets down the track and easily whips a full toss to the long-on boundary.

Smith's last ball has a bit more turn from around middle stump and gives Pujara a bit of trouble as he defends.

INDIA 4-124 (Rahane 41*, Pujara 12*) - needs 260 to win

Hazlewood gets one to shape back into Pujara and it hammers into his inside edge, forcing him to take his bottom hand off the bat.

He finds the edge and a diving Steve Smith prevents a four with a brilliant save.

Hazlewood looked good in that over, getting a few to shape in and even finding the edge.

INDIA 4-124 (Rahane 41*, Pujara 12*) - needs 260 to win

Lyon finds Pujara's inside edge as he looks to defend.

Pujara then uses his feet and whip though mid-wicket for three runs.

INDIA 4-121 (Rahane 41*, Pujara 9*) - needs 263 to win

Josh Hazlewood replaces Harris.

Pujara turns a single off his hip behind square.

These two are being very watchful. Australia needs to keep the wickets flowing or this could become very difficult.

INDIA 4-120 (Rahane 41*, Pujara 8*) - needs 264 to win

Nathan Lyon comes into the attack. He's toiled hard but hasn't threatened often today.

He gets too wide and Rahane cuts but it stops well before the boundary and they get three runs.

Pujara picks up a single off his thigh, but it's not overly convincing.

Another tight but non-threatening Lyon over.

INDIA 4-116 (Rahane 38*, Pujara 7*) - needs 268 to win

And the support staff with the bottles and the tablets have come out to waste a bit of time.

Harris is continuing to bowl a very persistent line and length but a couple of short balls give Pujara some trouble to end the over.

INDIA 4-116 (Rahane 38*, Pujara 7*) - needs 268 to win

Johnson continues to Pujara.

He bowls a couple short but the length ball looks the best way to get Pujara out.

Johnson goes wide and Pujara drives a bit uppishly through point. It's stopped just short of the boundary and they pick up three.

INDIA 4-113 (Rahane 38*, Pujara 4*) - needs 271 to win

Harris continuing to Rahane.

Rahane bunts to mid-off and Warner has an unnecessary shy at the stumps that almost costs Harris overthrows.

WHACK!! Harris bangs one in short and wide, and it's dispatched to the boundary behind point.

INDIA 4-109 (Rahane 34*, Pujara 4*) - needs 275 to win

Johnson gets one across Pujara and the batsman half prods at it but pulls back in time.

He sends a few more past him and he just leaves them alone.

But one gets a bit closer and he gets within a whisker of edging that to Haddin. He was in two minds there.

BANG! Pujara follows that up with a nice off drive for four to get off the mark.

INDIA 4-105 (Rahane 34*, Pujara 0*) - needs 279 to win

There's a bit of a conference he between the umpires and a few Aussie players, including David Warner, Ryan Harris and the skipper Steve Smith. Not sure what that's about but it looks like Warner is having a go at the batsmen from mid-off.

It hasn't fazed Harris who bowls out a maiden to a defending Rahane.

INDIA 4-105 (Rahane 34*, Pujara 0*) - needs 279 to win

Mitchell Johnson will bowl to Rahane.

Johnson bangs one in short and, as he's done all Test, he pulls it straight down to fine leg for a single. Rahane's pull shot is safe as houses.

Johnson gets a nice ball up on a good length to Pujara and it's chased a little bit outside off.

He follows it up with a slower ball that's awkwardly defended by Pujara.

But his last two balls are both too wide. I don't think Pujara could reach those if he tried.

INDIA 4-104 (Rahane 33*, Pujara 0*) - needs 280 to win

Huge over from Harris. Wicket maiden to start the final session.

Cheteshwar Pujara is out there.

KOHLI'S GONE FOR 54!! c Burns b Harris. INDIA 4-104 (Rahane 33*) - needs 280 runs to win

Kohli closes the face of the bat and he's flicked Harris straight to Joe Burns at square leg on the first ball after tea.

Huge breakthrough there. That, in my opinion, is the game. No Kohli, no win.

I just can't see India's last seven batting out the session.

The players are back out after tea.

THAT'S TEA! India 3-104 - requiring 280 runs to win

Australia looked like running away with it after removing Shikhar Dhawan (0), Lokesh Rahul (1) and Murali Vijay (11) to have India 3-19.

But a draw is now very much on the cards, now that Kohli (54*) and Rahane (33*) have settled in nicely and look very strong.

In saying that, there have been three genuine chances - Kohli should have been run out when he was on 4 and again just before tea. Chris Rogers also dropped a difficult but very catchable chance at point off the bat of Rahane.

India won't win this, but they have just seven wickets in hand, so an Australian victory is still very possible. (Remember, the Aussies took eight wickets in the final session, including that of Kohli, to win in Adelaide).

If Australia gets at least one of these two batsmen quickly after tea the rest of the wickets should follow quickly ... if the first five innings of this series are anything to go by.

For what it's worth, I'm tipping a draw and another big ton for Virat Kohli.

INDIA 3-104 (Rahane 33*, Kohli 54*) - needs 280 to win

MIX-UP!! Kohli takes a quick single and they look at two on the Warner overthrow, but Kohli's sent back. If Lyon could rein in Watson's throw, Kohli was on his way.

Kohli has a go at Rahane for sending him back. That could have been disastrous in the last over before lunch.

INDIA 3-103 (Rahane 33*, Kohli 53*) - needs 281 to win

Rahane just watches a few Hazlewood deliveries pass his off stump before defending very nicely.

FOUR! He backs it up with a beautiful, wristy leg glance to the square leg boundary. That was beautiful finesse.

100 UP FOR INDIA.

Hazlewood bangs one in short and Rahane sways out of the way. Nothing really there for anyone.

INDIA 3-99 (Rahane 29*, Kohli 53*) - needs 285 to win

Rahane rocks on to his back foot and works Lyon past cover for a single. There was probably two there but they didn't eant to take on Mitchell Johnson's arm.

Kohli picks up another single off his hip and behind square leg.

Rahane follows suit to end the over.

Lyon needs to pitch a bit wider and try and get one to spin out of the rough.

INDIA 3-96 (Rahane 27*, Kohli 52*) - needs 288 to win

Hazlewood back into the attack.

Kohli defends before watching a shorter ball fly past outside off.

He picks up two with a whip off his pads that's tracked down by Joe Burns.

And leaves one to ends the over. If anyone has any ideas on how to get him out, please tell the Australian bowling attack.

FIFTY FOR KOHLI!! 87 balls (7 x 4s, 0 x 6s) IND 3-94 - needs 290 to win

Another near flawless innings for the Indian vice-captain. He brings up 50 with a cheeky singly to square leg.

INDIA 3-93 (Rahane 27*, Kohli 49*) - needs 291 to win

Rahane gives kohli a look at Lyon with a quick single.

Kohli tries to work off his pads but it doesn't turn as much as he expected and it trickles back to Lyon.

INDIA 3-92 (Rahane 26*, Kohli 49*) - needs 292 to win

Josh Hazlewood comes into the attack.

CRACK!! Hazlewood gets very full and Kohli absolutely wallops it straight for four.

A couple of edgy strokes from Kohli bounce to Nathan Lyon at gully.

INDIA 3-88 (Rahane 26*, Kohli 45*) - needs 296 to win

Kohli turns a single off his hip and Rahane gets two more edgily past slip.

INDIA 3-85 (Rahane 22*, Kohli 45*) - needs 3299 to win

Johnson sends one across Kohli and he stretches for it in very similar fashion to the manner in which he got out in the first innings.

He gets hit off his hip and it's cut off just before the boundary by Hazlewood. Replays are a bit inconclusive but it's ruled two leg byes.

Smith moves to leg slip but Kohli crunches a wide one through cover. It doesn't reach the long MCG boundary though, and they get three runs.

CHANCE ... AND DROPPED!! Kohli cuts hard and high to point and Chris Rogers doesn't get up in time. That was hit hard but it really should have been taken.

INDIA 3-78 (Rahane 22*, Kohli 41*) - needs 306 to win

Harris comes in to a defending Kohli to start his next over.

Now he bunts to point and he and Rahane steal a single. Good running by this pair.

He defends the rest of Harris' over. The big paceman is hitting typically good lengths.

INDIA 3-77 (Rahane 22*, Kohli 40*) - needs 307 to win

Kohli easily turns Johnson off his hip for a single to start the over.

Johnson bangs in a 140kph bouncer at Rahane's ribs and it's bunted to square leg. No run. That was sharp.

Wow! Johnson pulls out another lightning bouncer and Rahane just sways away from it. Looked like he wanted to uppercut there but thought better of it. Very close to a chance.

BIG SHOUT! Johnson gets on to a good length and Rahane feels for it outside off. It carries through wide to Haddin and Australia goes up but umpire Dharmasena is having none of it.

The next two balls are back on a good length and Rahane defends solidly.

Good over from Johnson. Nice variation and very nearly drew a couple of edges.

INDIA 3-76 (Rahane 22*, Kohli 39*) - needs 308 to win

Rahane gets four more behind point off Harris' first ball.

He takes a single off the next delivery and Kohli drives through cover for three.

That's an expensive over from the usually accurate Harris. Eight runs from it.

INDIA 3-68 (Rahane 17*, Kohli 36*) - needs 316 to win

Rahane defends the first few Johnson deliveries before bunting to Warner at cover and stealing a single.

Kohli defends edgily and it looked like Johnson may have had a word in his follow-through.

FOUR! Kohli gets down low and sends it to the cover boundary ... just. That was very West Indian.

INDIA 3-63 (Rahane 16*, Kohli 32*) - needs 321 to win

Ryan Harris is replacing Nathan Lyon.

Kohli drives and it's cut off well at short cover by Shaun Marsh.

Harris gets a couple to jag back in to Kohli's pads, but he's equal to it.

He swings one into the pads and there's a shout but that was swinging well past leg. Meanwhile, the Indians pick up two leg byes.

INDIA 3-61 (Rahane 16*, Kohli 32*) - needs 323 to win

Mitchell Johnson replaces Watto.

BANG!! He gets short and Kohli hammers it to the mid-wicket boundary.

Kohli bunts to mid-off and take on Warner's injured right arm again. He dives to make his ground but the throw flies over the stumps. He would have been done there.

INDIA 3-56 (Rahane 16*, Kohli 27*) - needs 328 to win

Lyon continues to Rahane, but he's a bit too straight and he defends the first two balls easily.

Lyon gets wider and Rahane picks up two as he whips through cover.

Rahane defends the end of the over but there is a bit of shape in the air for the off-spinner. If he can land a few more in the rough, it could get interesting.

INDIA 3-54 (Rahane 14*, Kohli 27*) - needs 330 to win

Watson continuing to Kohli.

CRACK!! Watson gives Kohli a genuine half-volley and he watches it fly back past him and Harris at mid-off for four more runs.

Watson continues at the stumps and Kohli defends the rest of the over.

INDIA 3-50 (Rahane 14*, Kohli 23*) - needs 334 to win

Close one for Kohli. He chips one back to Lyon but it falls short.

Kohli whips to mid-on for a single.

BANG! Rahane adds his third four of the innings, hammering Lyon through extra cover for four.

Rahane gets himself two more runs as Australia produces another uncharacteristic misfield.

INDIA 3-43 (Rahane 8*, Kohli 22*) - needs 341 to win

Kohli smashes an off drive, but Ryan Harris does well to cut it off and keep it to one. He gets up a bit gingerly though.

Rahane tries to emulate Kohli but doesn't quite read it off the pitch and the ball barely trickles off the square.

FOUR! A catching cover and extra cover are put in place, but Watson gets too short and Rahane dispatches him through mid-wicket. He really is a very good puller of the ball.

INDIA 3-38 (Rahane 4*, Kohli 21*) - needs 346 to win

Lyon comes in to Kohli who turns behind leg but there's no run.

He slaps a wristy cover drive hard but it's well stopped.

Kohli gets off strike with a easily turned single to mid-wicket.

INDIA 3-37 (Rahane 4*, Kohli 20*) - needs 347 to win

Shane Watson is into the attack.

Kohli dabs one to gully and things and looks to take off for a sinle but, for the third time today, Warner saves at least two runs with a diving save.

Kohli takes a single on a Chris Rogers misfield.

Rahane leaves and defends to end the over. These two are looking to settle in for the long haul

INDIA 3-36 (Rahane 4*, Kohli 19*) - needs 348 to win

Lyon continuing to Kohli.

WHACK! Lyon puts one too full and too wide and Kohli whips him to the point boundary for four.

Now he steals a single to cover.

Lyon gets one to grip in the rough and Rahane tries to drive him through the off side but can only inside edge it on to his pad. Very nice ball. Lyon's bowled a few worrying balls to Rahane.

INDIA 3-31 (Rahane 4*, Kohli 14*) - needs 353 to win

Kohli is leaving a few outside off before defending one hard back to Hazlewood, who feigns a shy at the stumps. No words though.

Kohli tries to hook a shorter ball and Haddin takes it down the leg side. Barely half a shout there. No edge.

FOUR! Hazlewood puts one back of a length and Kohli bends his knees and gets on top of his pull shot nicely.

He ends the over with a quick single to mid-off.

INDIA 3-26 (Rahane 4*, Kohli 9*) - needs 358 to win

Kohli turns him around the corner for a single behind square leg.

Rahane gets a couple that turn a bit sharper out of the rough and picks up a leg bye on the second.

Kohli turns another one off his hip for one to end the over.

The good news for Steve Smith is he can be as aggressive as he like with his fields because India would be mad to go for the win from this point on.

Nathan Lyon is into the attack.

INDIA 3-23 (Rahane 4*, Kohli 7*) - needs 361 to win

Hazlewood gets one to stand a bit taller and Rahane awkwardly defends behind point.

Is the requisite shorter ball pulled for four imminent?

No. Hazlewood bowls out a nice maiden, forcing Rahane into defence.

INDIA 3-23 (Rahane 4*, Kohli 7*) - needs 361 to win

Harris continues to Kohli.

Kohli's cutting behind point to start the over. That was less than convincing and it falls a few metres short of backward point.

He defends a few well and sees out a maiden from Harris.

INDIA 3-23 (Rahane 4*, Kohli 7*) - needs 361 to win

Rahane leaves and defends his first two balls.

BANG!! Hazlewood goes short (for some reason) and Rahane pulls him to the boundary.

Ajinkya Rahane is out there now. What's happening with Cheteshwar Pujara?

VIJAY'S GONE FOR 11!! LBW Hazlewood. IND 3-19 (Kohli 7*) - needs 365 to win

Hazlewood gets one to come back and he's rapped on the pads. Replays show that one could have been missing leg.

Vijay really didn't want to leave but he's got to go. India is in serious trouble now.

INDIA 2-19 (Vijay 11*, Kohli 7*) - needs 365 to win

Vijay walks away before the first ball.

INDIA 2-19 (Vijay 11*, Kohli 7*) - needs 365 to win

Vijay drives somewhat uppishly through point for three runs. It's gotten a little lost in the fray this series but Vijay has been just about technically perfect through three Tests.

Kohli sees out the rest of Harris' over defensively.

INDIA 2-16 (Vijay 8*, Kohli 7*) - needs 368 to win

Josh Hazlewood is replacing Mitchell Johnson.

Kohli joins Vijay on seven as he flicks one of his pads for three runs.

Vijay gets forward to defend a wider Hazlewood ball that just rears up a bit. There's that uneven Melbourne bounce.

Vijay gets an edgy single to leg side.

Kohli leaves outside off to end the over.

INDIA 2-12 (Vijay 7*, Kohli 4*) - needs 372 to win

Ryan Harris continues to Vijay, who's defending to start the over. India is definitely playing for the draw now.

That's a maiden over for the big Ryno.

INDIA 2-8 (Vijay 7*, Kohli 0*) - needs 376 to win

Vijay defends a few from Harris.

SHOUT! Australia goes up for caught behind and there was definitely a noise, but Richard Kettleborough is having none of it. The Aussies were adamant that was gone, and it certainly looked it, but the replays show it just flicked his jumper on the way through.

Great decision.

INDIA 2-8 (Vijay 7*, Kohli 0*) - needs 376 to win

Vijay gets an easy single to cover and steals a second on the overthrow.

He retains the strike with another quick one to cover.

Unfortunately for Australia, now Virat Kohli is coming to the crease.

AND RAHUL'S GONE FOR 1!! c Watson b Johnson. IND 2-5 (Vijay 4*) - needs 379 to win

He skies a pull shot and Shane Watson charges back to third man and takes a very nice catch.

INDIA 1-5 (Vijay 4*, Rahul 1*) - needs 379 to win

Rahul leaves his first ball outside off stump.

The debutant defends his second ball. He gets off strike with an easy single.

Now Harris gets too straight on Vijay's pads and the in-form opener flicks padt square leg for two runs. There was probably three there but Vijay said no.

DHAWAN'S GONE FOR A DUCK!! LBW Harris. IND 1-2 (Vijay 2*) - need 382 to win

Harris gets one to come back in to the left-hander and he's given out. That was probably hitting top of off.

No Pujara her. Lokesh Rahul is coming out to bat.

INDIA 0-2 (Vijay 2*, Dhawan 0*) - needs 382 to win

Ryan Harris will bowl the next over.

Vijay takes on David Warner's arm for a quick single and just makes his ground.

INDIA 0-1 (Vijay 1*, Dhawan 0*) - needs 383 to win

Vijay leaves the first delivery of the innings outside off.

He gets his first runs to mid-wicket off his hip.

Johnson's first couple of balls to Dhawan are short and the left-hander gets his bat out of the way as they sail past outside off.

Now he gets on a length and Dhawan defends to the off side for the last two deliveries.

The players and umpires are back out on the field for the second session.

Mitchell Johnson will get first crack at the Indian openers.

AND THAT'S THE DECLARATION! AUSTRALIA 9-318 (Hazlewood 0, Lyon 1). INDIA REQUIRES 384 TO WIN.

Thanks to the rain and Shaun Marsh's inability to break free of India's shackles, Australia ate up the entirety of the first session before ultimately setting a target of 384 for India to win.

It's highly doubtful India will come close to making that, meaning Australia is the only realistic chance of winning this match. Even then, the hosts will need at least five wickets per session to secure the win.

The sad story of the day centered on Marsh, who was ultimately unable to convert his good innings into a deserved ton. Struggling on 99 not out to a tight Umesh Yadav over, he went for the quick single and paid for it with a run out.

AUS 9-318 (Hazlewood 0, Lyon 1) - lead of 383 runs

Josh Hazlewood is the last man in. Shami bowls to Lyon in what will be the last over before lunch.

OUT! MARSH IS GONE, RUN OUT FOR 99! AUSTRALIA 9-317 (Lyon 1*)

Marsh struggles to get the one run he needs for his ton off five Yadav balls. He decides to go for it on the last, playing to mid-off and setting off for a suicidal run! The throw comes in and it's a direct underarm hit! The umpire calls for the TV replay but the Indians are already celebrating! Replays show he was caught about 15cm short! Disaster for Marsh!

AUS 8-317 (Marsh 99, Lyon 1) - lead of 382 runs

Lyon gets off the mark and puts Marsh back on strike with an assertive straight drive.

Marsh clips Yadav towards the leg side ... but he can only get one run! He moves to 99.

AUS 8-315 (Marsh 98, Lyon 0) - lead of 380 runs

DROPPED! Marsh looks to smash the ball straight back past Ashwin but the bowler cannot pouch a return-catch. It was lashed straight into the bowler's wrists. He's seeking some medical attention.

BOOM! SIX RUNS! Marsh comes down the wicket to Ashwin and clobbers this over the bowler's head and comfortably into the stands.

FOUR! Now Marsh gets down on his knee to slog a sweep shot over midwicket! One bounce, four! He moves to 96.

Marsh goes big in his attempt to reach his ton, but mistimes his big drive. It bounces safely at deep midwicket and he gets two runs.

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OUT! HARRIS IS GONE FOR 21, CAUGHT DHONI, BOWLED SHAMI. AUS 8-303 (Marsh 86*)

Harris goes for the cover drive but can only get a feather touch on the ball as it edges through to Dhoni's gloves. Nathan Lyon is the new man in.

AUS 7-303 (Marsh 86, Harris 21) - lead of 368 runs

Ashwin works his way through a maiden over.

Shami concedes a leg-bye as Harris puts Marsh back on strike. Marsh responds with a stroke out to deep midwicket for one run.

AUS 7-301 (Marsh 85, Harris 21) - lead of 366 runs

Shami strays down the leg side and Harris glances him to fine leg for one run.

Now Marsh cuts Shami behind point and scurries home for two well-scampered runs. 300 up for Australia.

Marsh gets a ball that trickles off his pad towards the leg side. The batsmen cross for one leg-bye.

AUS 7-297 (Marsh 83, Harris 20) - lead of 362 runs

Marsh comes down the wicket and strokes Ashwin through to deep mid-off for two runs.

AUS 7-295 (Marsh 81, Harris 20) - lead of 360 runs

GOOD RUNNING! Marsh inside-edges Yadav onto his pads and the non-striker Harris calls for a cheeky single! The ball bobbles to short cover-point and Harris slides his bat home to register the run.

Harris gets a single to fine leg, whipping Yadav off his pads.

Marsh guides the bowler to third man for another single. He moves to 81.

SHOT, HARRIS! He drives Yadav off the back foot through the gap at cover. It will die before the boundary rope but he'll run all four runs. Great stroke.

AUS 7-288 (Marsh 79, Harris 15) - lead of 353 runs

Marsh punches Ashwin through to deep cover and picks up another single.

Harris then turns Ashwin through midwicket and also picks up the one run.

Another run for Marsh as he pushes Ashwin out to cover with the sweeper cleaning up.

AUS 7-285 (Marsh 77, Harris 14) - lead of 350 runs

A tidy over from Yadav sees the batsmen twice aborting quick singles, before Marsh retains strike with one run off the final ball, playing through the offside.

AUS 7-284 (Marsh 76, Harris 14) - lead of 349 runs

CLOSE! Yadav cramps Marsh up as the batsman tries to cut behind point, but hits nothing but air.

EDGED, AND FOUR! Marsh looks to cut again and sees the ball fly upwards and just over the fingers of the leaping first slip fielder! It races away to the rope for a streaky boundary.

AUS 7-280 (Marsh 72, Harris 14) - lead of 345 runs

India's players are wandering back out into the middle, as are Australia's batsmen.

Ravichandran Ashwin is beginning his first spell of the day. Harris dabs at the first three balls defensively.

Harris blocks the fourth ball, before driving hard to the long-off boundary. The fielder makes a meal of the recovery and Harris gets two.

The umpires are out, the sun is shining once more, and the batsman are on the perimeter waiting for the word to come on again.

And the covers are coming back off. The word on the grapevine is that we will have three overs reduced from the day's total today. That's a reduction from 96 to 93 overs.

AUS 7-278 (Marsh 72, Harris 12) - lead of 343 runs

Harris is on the back foot and driving Yadav to cover. He forces the issue with a quick single and gets home comfortably after a fumble.

AUS 7-277 (Marsh 72, Harris 11) - lead of 342 runs

BIG BOUNCER! Too big, in fact, from Shami as the umpire signals a wide.

Marsh does get a single, running quickly after dabbing it to mid-off. Harris puts Marsh back on strike with a single to square leg.

FOUR! Lovely shot from Marsh who scores the first boundary of day five. Wider from Shami and the batsman cuts it expertly behind point.

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AUS 7-270 (Marsh 67, Harris 10) - lead of 335 runs

Harris moves into double figures on the first ball of Yadav's over, inside edging off his pads for a quick single.

Marsh gets a single himself, pushing to midwicket.

AUS 7-268 (Marsh 67, Harris 9) - lead of 333 runs

Harris scores his first run of the day, flicking Shami off his hips to fine leg for a single.

Now Marsh drives a full delivery from Shami through mid-on. He picks up two runs as the fielder collects.

AUS 7-265 (Marsh 64, Harris 8) - lead of 330 runs

Harris gets off strike with a leg-bye, padding Yadav to short leg for one sundry.

AUS 7-264 (Marsh 64, Harris 8) - lead of 329 runs

Shami continues to Marsh. The new ball is available in two overs' time. Shami gets through a maiden.

AUS 7-264 (Marsh 64, Harris 8) - lead of 329 runs

Umesh Yadav has replaced Ishant after just the one over. Marsh defends a good length ball first up.

Yadav strays a bit down the leg side and Marsh whips him off his thigh pad to fine leg. One run.

AUS 7-263 (Marsh 63, Harris 8) - lead of 328 runs

Mohammed Shami is bowling his first over of the day.

Marsh pushes the second ball past short point for a cheeky single. Just the one run from Shami's over.

AUS 7-262 (Marsh 62, Harris 8) - lead of 327 runs

BOUNCER! Ishant's first ball to restart things is short and looping over the batsman's helmet.

Marsh leaves the next ball well alone as it travels down the offside and through to the keeper's gloves.

Marsh tries to turn the last ball off his hips but can't make clean contact. Harris calls for a quick run and they cross successfully. The umpire chalks it up as a leg-bye.

AUS 7-261 (Marsh 62, Harris 8) - lead of 326 runs

The Indian players are out on the field, with Australia's batsmen loitering around the boundary rope. Looks like everyone's keen for a restart.

And the umpires are out on the field with Marsh and Harris in tow. Let's get this show on the road.

All covers are now off and the sun is out! Typical 'four seasons in one day' stuff from Melbourne. The players should be out on the paddock soon.

The covers are still down, but the rain has stopped. If we don't lose 36 minutes to rain, the match will continue as is with no extended sessions.

The umpires are both walking out to the middle to have a chat with the groundsmen. The covers are ... coming off! Play may resume shortly.

AUS 7-261 (Marsh 62, Harris 8) - lead of 326 runs

The players are out in the middle and Shaun Marsh will face the first ball of the day. Ishant Sharma to bowl.

The first ball is defended straight back to the bowler.

AND IT'S RAINING. We're three balls into the day and the covers are coming on. Marvelous!

The hessian covers on but the players are hanging about. The shower was brief and light and they might be back on before you know it.

And now the rain is properly falling. The heavier covers are on and the players are definitely off the field now. Hopefully this is just a passing shower.

We are of course set for an earlier start today after yesterday's lengthy rain delay. The first ball is set to be bowled at 10:06am AEDT. That's just over 20 minutes away.

FINAL DAY THRILLER AWAITS

With Australia starting the day at 7 for 261, leading by 326 runs, Quentin says it will be up to Shaun Marsh (62*) to quickly guide the hosts to an imposing platform.

WEATHER UPDATE

It's a fairly cool and comfortable day in the Victorian capital, with a maximum of 21 degrees Celsius forecast. As of 9:00am local time, the mercury had risen to just 18 degrees.

As far as rain is concerned, there's a few clouds about but not much precipitation predicted. About 10 per cent moisture is anticipated for the lunch break.

Good morning, cricket lovers, and welcome to the fifth and final day of the third Test between Australia and India at the MCG. I'm James Maasdorp, here to bring you all the action from a delicately poised match where a win, loss or draw for both teams is still within the realms of possibility. I'll be bringing you live updates from the first session, where Australia will be looking to get quick runs before looking to tear into India's batting line-up. From the second session onwards, you'll have the pleasure of Jon Healy's thoughts and missives as we close out the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

Remember, you can share your thoughts and ask us questions throughout the day, and we'll publish and respond to the best ones when there's time. Simply click on the 'Comment' button at the top, log in and let us know your observations of the day's play.

Match pictures: Day 5, MCG


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