India roar back with four wickets after Australia’s flying start

Publish: 8:42 PM, January 18, 2021 | Update: 8:42:PM, January 18, 2021

BRISBANE, Australia,  – India claimed four wickets to peg back a flying start by Australia and keep their hopes alive on the fourth morning of the series-deciding final Test against Australia at the Gabba on Monday.

Australia went to lunch at 149 for four in their second innings with Steve Smith on 28 alongside Cameron Green on four, an overall lead of 182 runs.

The home side are still favourites, but with rain forecast later Monday and on Tuesday, India have put themselves in a position to draw the match at least.

With the series tied at 1-1, the Indians only need a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

India again showed great resilience to roar back after an aggressive first hour from Australian opening batsmen David Warner and Marcus Harris, who took advantage of some poor bowling to score freely.

After starting the morning with their partnership on 21 from the six overs they faced on Sunday evening, Warner and Harris accelerated the scoring rate as they tried to set up a declaration later in the day.

They added 68 runs off 19 overs when, with the score on 89, Harris fell for 38 when he tried to duck a Shardul Thakur short ball only for the ball to graze his glove on the way through to keeper Rishabh Pant.

It prompted a mini-collapse as two runs later debutant Washington Sundar trapped Warner lbw for 48, the Australian opener’s highest score since his return from a groin strain in the third Test in Sydney.

First innings century-maker Marnus Labuschagne came to the crease and continued to attack, blasting five boundaries on his way to a quickfire 25 before he was straightened up by a Mohammed Siraj delivery and edged a simple catch to Rohit Sharma at second slip.

Siraj, who was expensive in his early overs, then had Matthew Wade caught behind down the legside for a duck three balls later to leave Australia struggling at 123 for four.

However, Smith and Green were able to prevent the inexperienced India attack from making any further inroads in the 30 minutes before lunch.

Off-spinner Sundar (1-38) and seamer Thakur (1-28), who had just one Test cap between them before this match and had both starred with the bat during a magnificent rearguard century stand for the seventh wicket on Sunday, were effective alongside the pace of Siraj (2-37), who recovered well after a poor start.