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PICS: India chase 324 for fairytale Australia series win

Last updated on: January 18, 2021 14:23 IST
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India pacer Shardul Thakur is complimented by teammates after dismissing Marcus Harris in the first session on Day 4

IMAGE: India pacer Shardul Thakur is complimented by teammates after dismissing Marcus Harris on Day 4 of the fourth Test against Australia, in Brisbane, on Monday. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

India need 324 runs for a fairytale victory in the deciding fourth Test against Australia after rain brought an end to play after tea on Day 4, at the Gabba, in Brisbane on Monday.

 

Rohit Sharma was four not out, with Shubman Gill yet to score, after the injury-decimated tourists bowled Australia out for 294 in their second innings.

With the series level at 1-1, Australia must win the match to claim the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

Holders India, however, need only a draw to retain the silverware after their breakthrough 2-1 win in the 2018/19 series in Australia.

Steve Smith was aggressive from the start of his innings

IMAGE: Steve Smith was aggressive from the start of his innings on Day 4. Photograph: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Australia's task may be made tougher with rain forecast on Day 5.

"It's hard to know, obviously with the rain coming," Australia batsman Steve Smith told reporters.

"You have to play the game as you sort of see it as well.

"I think the game is in a nice place for us. The wicket is starting to play a few tricks.

"Tomorrow is about bowling a few good areas ... Hopefully we can hold on to all the chances."

A Gabba pitch that was largely benign through the opening days began to bare its teeth on Monday, with Smith (55) gloving a catch to captain Ajinkya Rahane after a Mohammed Siraj ball reared up from the wicket.

India's bowlers chipped away all day, with Siraj finishing the best of them with a haul of 5-73.

David Warner walks back after being trapped leg before wicket by Washington Sundar.

IMAGE: David Warner walks back after being trapped leg before wicket by Washington Sundar. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Shardul Thakur's dream Test match also got better with figures of 4 for 61 and a match haul of seven wickets.

The highest target chased down at Brisbane is 236. That was seven decades ago. The home team hasn't lost a game at the venue since 1988.

Siraj produced two top quality deliveries to get rid of Australia's best batsmen -- Marnus Labuschagne (25 off 22 balls) and Steve Smith (55 off 74 balls). Both deliveries were different from each other, like chalk and cheese. Labuschagne got a fuller delivery on the off-stump that moved in a shade and he jabbed at it for Rohit Sharma to take a smart catch at second slip.

For Smith, who was on the offensive, Siraj produced what in cricketing parlance is known as the "heavy ball" or the "effort ball". The one that climbed and grew big on Smith and forced him to lob one at gully for rival skipper Ajinkya Rahane.

But there was a time during the morning session on Day 4 when Siraj was either being pulled or driven through covers imperiously as David Warner (48 off 75 balls) and Marcus Harris (38 off 82 balls) took control to send him and T Natarajan on a leather-hunt.

Between them, they ad hit 14 boundaries, 11 of them on the day.

Shardul Thakur celebrates after dismissing Cameron Green

IMAGE: Shardul Thakur celebrates after dismissing Cameron Green. Photograph: Matt Roberts/Getty Images

Then it was Thakur, who despite his 5 feet 7 inch frame, bounced Harris into swaying. The brush off gloves went to Rishabh Pant.

In the very next over, Warner, who was in sight of his first half-century of the series, was rapped on the backfoot by Washington who bowled one that kept straight.

The opener ended up being cramped for room on the back-foot while going for the cut shot. Four wickets fell in the session as India got back into the match.

The second session saw Smith up the ante before Siraj delivered and another three wickets. A few missed catches made it an exciting contest.

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World Test Championship - 2021

World Test Championship - 2021