Ranchi (India) – Gritty half-centuries from Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh enabled Australia to hold out for a draw in the third Test against India Monday, leaving the four-match series tantalisingly poised at 1-1.

Australia, who began their second innings 152 runs adrift of the hosts, were in deep trouble after being reduced to 63-4 in Ranchi before Handscomb (72 not out) and Marsh (53) put on 124 for the fifth wicket.

The tourists eventually reached 204 for 6 at stumps on the fifth and final day, after the hosts made a mammoth 603-9 declared in their first innings.

India’s Ravindra Jadeja claimed four wickets to return with overall match figures of 9-178 at India’s newest Test venue.

But it was Cheteshwar Pujara (202) and Wriddhiman Saha (117) who were the main stars of the match for India after their 199-run seventh-wicket stand on Sunday.

Australia's Peter Handscomb bats during the fifth day of the third Test against India in Ranchi on March 20, 2017. © AFP SAJJAD HUSSAIN

© AFP SAJJAD HUSSAIN – Australia’s Peter Handscomb bats during the fifth day of the third Test against India in Ranchi on March 20, 2017