Steve Smith defends declaration call as Test ends in draw

Australia skipper Steve Smith defended the timing of his declaration as India held on for a draw in the third Test in Melbourne on Tuesday.

AFP| Updated: Dec 30, 2014, 16:23 PM IST
Steve Smith defends declaration call as Test ends in draw

Melbourne: Australia skipper Steve Smith defended the timing of his declaration as India held on for a draw in the third Test in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Australia set the tourists a 384-run victory target off just 70 overs, after batting throughout the morning session and declaring at lunchtime.

The match finished in a draw with India on 174 for six. But Australia reclaimed the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning in Adelaide and Brisbane, ahead of next week`s final Test in Sydney.

The Australian pair of Shaun Marsh and Ryan Harris found scoring difficult through much of the morning session until Marsh went after quick runs to chase a century before the declaration.

He became edgy on 99 and scampered after a risky single off Umesh Yadav, only to be caught out by Virat Kohli`s throw from behind the non-striker`s end.

Smith, who was captaining Australia for a second Test while Michael Clarke is injured, was questioned about his declaration call at his post-match press conference.

"India have some very good batters in their side," he said.

"The wicket didn`t break up at all, it was still a very good wicket.

"But we really didn`t want to give India a sniff (of victory).

"We`ve got another series win, which is what we were after, and hopefully we can finish well in Sydney."

Smith said he consulted coach Darren Lehmann and senior players, but in the end it was his call, adding "everyone was on the same page".

Asked about Australia`s oft-stated desire to play aggressive and positive cricket, Smith said: "We say we always play to win, but it was one of those circumstances where India had an opportunity to take the new ball this morning as well.

"They didn`t do that so we thought `You know what? We`ll just give you a few less overs to get these runs`.

"I thought they might have come out a bit harder at the start and we might have got a few wickets there.

"We`ve seen how the tail of India has gone recently. We`ve got through them pretty quickly.

"It didn`t turn out that way, but we still got a series win, which is the most important thing for us."

Smith said he believed Australia failed to win the Test through their dropped catches in India`s first innings.

"A win went begging a couple of days ago when we dropped a few catches," he said.

"Our fielding was below par for us in this Test, which was disappointing.

"We certainly let a few opportunities slip, which never helps."