Sydney: India overcame some anxious moments on a tricky fifth day track before salvaging a tense draw in the fourth and final cricket Test against Australia who sealed the four-match series with a 2-0 margin, here today.
Chasing a stiff target of 349 for a win, India started off well but suffered a dramatic collapse in the post tea session to just about eke out a draw by finishing on 252 for seven in 89.5 overs on an absorbing fifth day's play at the SGC.
Ajinkya Rahane. Pic/AFP
India were comfortably placed at 160 for two at tea and needed 189 runs off 33 overs for a win in the final session.
The complexion of the game changed completely after the tea break with Murali Vijay (80), in-form captain Virat Kohli (46), Suresh Raina (0) and Wriddhiman Saha (0) and Ravichandran Ashwin (1) departing in quick succession to give Australia a sniff of victory.
But Ajinkya Rahane (38 not out) and Bhuvaneswar Kumar (20 not out) played out almost 12 tense overs to save the game for the Indians, who were badly let down by their wayward bowlers right through the series.
The 2-0 series verdict meant that Australia regained the Border-Gavaskar trophy by virtue of their victories in Adelaide and Brisbane. The Boxing Day Test at Melbourne ended in a draw.
For Australia Josh Hazzlewood (2/31), Mitchell Starc (2/36) and off-spinner Nathan Lyon (2/110) shared six wickets between them.
The stage was set for a pulsating fifth day's play with Australia declaring their second innings at the overnight score of 251 for six, giving India a target of 349 in 90 overs to register their first win in the series.
India lost young opener Lokesh Rahul (16) early but Vijay and Rohit Sharma (39) stitched 56 runs for the second wicket to stabilise the innings.