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PICS: Australia vs India, 4th Test, Day 3

Last updated on: January 17, 2021 13:53 IST
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Images from Day 3 of the fourth Test between Australia and India, at the Gabba, on Sunday.

India debutant Washington Sundar takes evasive action from a rising delivery while batting on Day 3 of the fourth Test against Australia, at the Gabba, in Brisbane, on Sunday.

IMAGE: India's Washington Sundar takes evasive action from a rising delivery while batting on Day 3 of the fourth Test against Australia, at the Gabba, in Brisbane, on Sunday. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Debutant Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur punched above their weight with splendid half-centuries to keep Australia at bay and India bullish after an engrossing third day's play in the series-deciding fourth Test, at the Gabba, in Brisbane, on Sunday.

 

Australia openers David Warner (20) and Marcus Harris (1) saw out six overs to extend the home team's lead to 54 by stumps after India's first innings ended at 336.

Shardul Thakur waves to the dressing room after scoring 50.

IMAGE: Shardul Thakur waves to the dressing room after getting to 50. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Australia's lead could have been much more had it not been for a delightful 123-run partnership for the seventh wicket between Washington (62) and Shardul (67), who defied and then attacked the rival bowling attack with gusto.

Pacer Josh Hazlewood finished with a well-deserved 5 for 57 for Australia, a reward for consistently bowling with an impeccable line and length at a brisk pace.

Symbolising the courage shown by the visitors, now rendered almost second-string owing to a plethora of injuries suffered by their top players through the four-match series, Washington and Shardul mixed caution with aggression to bail their team out of a precarious 186 for 6.

Shardul Thakur is bowled by Pat Cummins.

IMAGE: Shardul Thakur is bowled by Pat Cummins. Photograph: Jono Searle/Getty Images

First, they turned unlikely saviours after three soft dismissals pushed India on the back foot, and in the final session, the two opened up and went after the world-class Australian attack.

If his nine fours were not enough, Shardul bludgeoned off-spinner Nathan Lyon, holder of 397 wickets, for a maximum over long-on to reach his maiden Test fifty in style in only his second match.

Shardul also opened his account with a hooked six off the world's number one bowler, Pat Cummins.

Playing in his first Test, Washington too soon got to his maiden fifty in the traditional format while finding the fence seven times and clearing it once.

Session 1

Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood celebrates taking the wicket of India's Cheteshwar Pujara

IMAGE: Australia pacer Josh Hazlewood celebrates taking the wicket of India's Cheteshwar Pujara in the morning session on Day 3. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

India lost the big wicket of skipper Ajinkya Rahane to a poor shot just before lunch as they went into the break on 161 for 4.

At the break, the visitors trailed Australia's first-innings total of 369 by 208 runs, with Mayank Agarwal (38) and Rishabh Pant (4) batting in the middle.

This was after Mitchell Starc induced a thick edge off Rahane for Matthew Wade to complete a comfortable catch in the slip cordon. India’s captain had got away with similar shots twice in the first hour of play.

Ajinkya Rahane takes evasive action from a bouncer on Day 3

IMAGE: Ajinkya Rahane takes evasive action from a bouncer on Day 3. Photograph: Jono Searle/Getty Images

The visitors started with their overnight pair of Rahane (37) and Cheteshwar Pujara (25) adding 43 runs before the latter fell to a near unplayable delivery by Josh Hazlewood in only his second over of the day.

Until Pujara's dismissal, the experienced duo raised hopes of a big partnership by negotiating the formidable Australian bowling attack in the first one hour of play.

Pujara was his usual solid self while Rahane was a bit more adventurous and lucky as the ball flew past the gap between gully and third slip for boundaries on two occasions.

Before getting out, Pujara square cut Mitchell Starc for a boundary and also collected four runs with a back-foot square drive through deep point.

Mitchell Starc celebrates with Tim Paine after dismissing Ajinkya Rahane.

IMAGE: Mitchell Starc celebrates with Tim Paine after dismissing Ajinkya Rahane. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Introduced into the attack after 11 overs had been bowled in the day, Nathan Lyon saw Pujara straightaway dancing down the pitch and then running three, which gave Rahane the strike and he rocked on to the back-foot and played the cut shot against the off-spinner for a four through point.

Rahane beautifully punched Pat Cummins for three runs before Australia had their first breakthrough of the day.

Bowling in the channel just outside the off-stump, Hazlewood got one to straighten a bit after angling it in. Pujara had no answer as the ball took an edge through to captain Tim Paine behind the stumps.

Mayank Agarwal sends one over the boundary

IMAGE: Mayank Agarwal steps out and sends one over the boundary. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Returning to the side after sitting out the third Test, Agarwal showed intent as he looked to keep the scoreboard ticking in the company of his captain, who seemed determined to convert his start into a big one.

Batting at number five instead of the opening slot, Agarwal's first boundary was a fortuitous one as a thick edge off Cummins flew between second slip and gully. His second boundary was much better as Agarwal glanced Starc down the leg side.

More convincing was Agarwal's six over long-on off Nathan Lyon but the best was the classic straight drive he played against Starc.

But the Australians celebrated soon as they sent back Rahane, paving the way for Pant's arrival.

Session 2:

Shardul Thakur

IMAGE: India's Shardul Thakur goes on one foot to send the ball to the fence after lunch on Day 3.  Photograph: Jono Searle/Getty Images

Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur turned unlikely saviours after three soft dismissals to guide India to 253 for 6 at tea.

With an unbroken partnership of 67, Sundar (38) and Thakur (33) did not let Australia run away with the game after Josh Hazlewood sliced through India's middle-order with the wickets of Mayank Agarwal and Rishabh Pant at the start of the second session.

Washington Sundar

IMAGE: Washington Sundar avoids a bouncer. Photograph: Jono Searle/Getty Images

At the tea break, India trailed Australia's first-innings total of 369 by 116 runs.

This was largely due to the fight put up by Sundar and Thakur, who played their strokes without worrying about the end result, frustrating the high-quality Australian attack with their carefree approach.

India were in a spot of bother before their counter-attacking act.

Shardul Thakur receives medical attention after being hit on the hand

IMAGE: Shardul Thakur receives medical attention after being hit on the hand. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

If the visitors lost the big wicket of skipper Ajinkya Rahane to a poor shot at the stroke of lunch, they were dealt another blow right after the break when the persevering Hazlewood lured Agarwal (38) into a loose drive for Steve Smith to complete a catch at second slip on the rebound.

More trouble was in store as Pant (23) failed to get past Cameron Green, who pulled off a sharp reflex catch at gully, after the batsman tried to work Hazlewodd through that region.

India were 186 for six at that stage and Australia ahead by 183 runs.

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