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Justin Langer stands by Australia’s bowlers after India incredibly claims series victory at Gabba


Australian coach Justin Langer says his team will begin the process of reviewing its shock series loss to India, admitting he and the side are “hurting” after the result at the Gabba.

Langer also admitted Rishabh Pant’s match-winning rampage triggered an unpleasant sense of deja vu, taking him back to Ben Stokes’s masterful chase in 2019.

Pant secured India a 2-1 series victory at the Gabba by reeling in a target of 328, making a mockery of the hosts’ star-studded attack on a day-five pitch.

It was the highest successful chase from 63 Tests at the venue, snapping Australia’s undefeated streak in Brisbane that stretched back to 1988.

Pant finished 89 not out, keeping calm amid a chaotic finish.

The parallels with Stokes’s unbeaten ton at Headingley, which dragged his side past 359 and completed England’s highest ever chase, were not lost on Langer.

India batsman Rishabh Pant swings hard on day five of a Test at the Gabba.
Rishabh Pant took the game away from Australia with some inspired hitting.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

“Pant’s innings reminded me a bit about Ben Stokes at Headingley,” Langer said.

“So what can we get better at? Maybe how we approach left handers who come and take it back at us.”

India's Rishabh Pant raises his arm as he runs while celebrating the winning runs against Australia.
Rishabh Pant’s fine innings steered India to an unlikely victory.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

For the second straight Test, Australia’s highly regarded bowling attack failed to bowl India out on the final day of a Test to claim victory, with Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc particularly ineffectual with the ball.

But Langer said he had no regrets about sticking with the same foursome throughout the series.

“I’m really proud of the fact that those four guys, they all stood up for the whole series,” he said.

“I would have been a brave man coming into this Gabba Test match and not selecting those four bowlers. I mean, would you have?

“Tell me who you wouldn’t have picked — Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc or Nathan Lyon? With the series on the line, which one wouldn’t I have picked?

“I would have picked them every single day.”

Indian cricketers carry the national flag as they walk around the Gabba after the last Test against Australia.
Indian players celebrate on the Gabba after their win.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Langer said the team’s greater problems came with the bat, especially at the top of the order which saw several opening partnerships trialled with little success.

“Ultimately our opening partnerships throughout the summer [were a problem],” he said.

“You can imagine how passionate I am about opening partnerships and the top. Marnus [Labuschagne] has done a good job at three, Steve [Smith] came good in the end at number four, but we didn’t nail our opening partnerships.

“Our middle order got a lot of starts, all the things that are so obvious, but we just need to find reasons why it’s happening.”

The Australia cricket team gather in celebration. A large advertising board in the background reads 'WICKET!'
Australia left too much of the workload up to too few players.(AAP: Darren England)

Despite remaining characteristically upbeat, Langer admitted the team was bitterly disappointed to have lost the series in such a manner.

“It’s been a tough series,” he said.

“We’ll be thinking the same thing as everyone else … I can’t tell you how much it will hurt the 11 guys.

“There’s been a lot of mud thrown at our Australian cricket team, but we’ll learn from it and get better.”

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.
Tim Paine praises the Indian cricket team

ABC/AAP



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India clinches deserved Test series win over Australia with Gabba triumph in Brisbane


In truth, it happened hours before the miracle victory was clinched by the wicketkeeper who can’t catch and the net bowlers who were 18th, 19th and 20th in line for a spot in the team.

It happened when nobody with a rudimentary understanding of cricket history — nobody with basic common sense — believed that even India, the team that can’t be killed, the team formed from the surviving components of a cricketing car crash, could become the first since 1988 to beat Australia at the Gabba.

The moment that should define India’s courageous retention of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy occurred in the 51st over, halfway through the final day of the summer. Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood unleashed a vicious, angled bouncer, striking Cheteshwar Pujara’s face guard so violently that his helmet nearly did a 360-spin.

It was the 10th head or body blow Pujara had worn for the day — a day on which he would make 56 runs from 211 deliveries but achieve a sporting immortality that isn’t measured in numbers. Earlier, Pat Cummins had struck him in the ribs at full pace — blunt force comparable to a sledgehammer blow — and Pujara had not so much as blinked.

After Hazlewood’s bouncer, Pujara simply called for a new helmet and determinedly sailed on, staring into the middle distance, dismissed only once he’d moved India to the launching pad from which Rishabh Pant would secure one of the great Test victories. Seconds after the clang of leather on metal, the uncaring bowler had snarled: “Did you see that one?”

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara screams in pain as teammate Ajinkya Rahane watches on.
Cheteshwar Pujara was battered and bruised, yet India triumphed at the Gabba.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

The catalyst of all that drama was Pujara’s withdrawal from the crease a moment earlier, when his spell of concentration was broken by the appearance of an insect. It looked like a caper white butterfly, Belenois java — not native to Brisbane but a fixture in recent summers. Locals decried their arrival at first but were soon transfixed by their beauty.

The story of India’s summer is not dissimilar.

They were skittled for 36 and embarrassed in Adelaide, sledged and abused in Sydney, battered and bruised by Australia’s fast bowlers until they’d used almost enough players for two XIs.

Yet with majestic, confounding and utterly compelling cricket they have not just retained the trophy but won it 2-1, gaining admirers all over the world and finally moving Australians from begrudging respect to unconditional applause.

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There were heroes throughout the tourists’ line-up. Rookie opener Shubman Gill made a nerveless, almost faultless 91 that confirmed a special talent and set India on its way. His assault on Mitchell Starc altered the mood of the day and Australia never really recovered.

Chaperoning him, Pujara was like a human pinata. Australia’s bowlers wore themselves ragged trying to crack him open. Washington Sundar threw caution to the wind precisely when it was required, inspiring Rishabh Pant and pushing him to greater heights as the quite ridiculous chase reached its most feverish point.

What is left to say about Pant? His undefeated 89 pushed his series aggregate to 274 runs at 68.50. Will it forever banish the debate about what India loses from his sub-par glovework? He probably wishes every Test was played in Australia. Some of his teammates might wish the same.

India's Rishabh Pant raises his arm as he runs while celebrating the winning runs against Australia.
Rishabh Pant (right) rose to the occasion to hit the winning runs.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Australia has far more difficult conversations ahead. One of the primary appeals of Test cricket is its ruthless examination of technique, temperament, strategy and stamina — tests Australia flunked in Brisbane as they had in Sydney.

Starc, a frequent destroyer of less heralded batting line-ups, was an unfortunate avatar. With the series on the line, his job was to aim every delivery of his first spell at the widening cracks of the wearing pitch.

In theory, it should have been a nightmare scenario for Pujara and Gill, the batsmen at the time. In reality it was a far tougher assignment for Starc.

A bowler who struggled all summer to aim accurately within the width and height of three stumps was asked to come around the wicket, avoiding deep footmarks that meant he was delivering the ball an extra yard, push through the pain of a hamstring injury that had reduced his rhythm and pace, on the final day of a punishing series, to hit a target the width of a fingernail.

To the surprise of very few, it didn’t work — neither did basically everything else Tim Paine tried, aside from bringing back Cummins every time he was refreshed enough to bowl again. Nathan Lyon finished his 100th Test stuck on 399 wickets, contemplating his status as only the fourth-best spinner in the series. His was not the only ego to be bruised.

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That is not to say India’s task was straightforward. Hazlewood and Cummins bowled with venom. Because Cummins is so handsome and polite, we underestimate what an ordeal he is to face. He bowled magnificently and with unbelievable resilience: 24 overs, 10 maidens, 4-55. But he couldn’t bowl forever.

Australia might well offer the excuse that the bowlers were already worn out. That shouldn’t wash.

All summer they’ve ignored capable benchwarmers in James Pattinson, Michael Neser and Mitchell Swepson. And anyway, a group of battlers with 11 Test wickets between them leading into this match took 10 on day four, when the pitch was in better shape than the final day.

“Did you see that one?” It could be the motto of the summer. Following the penultimate day’s play, no less an authority than Ian Chappell said this was a contest to rank with the classics of 1960/61 and 2005. Chappell is not given to exaggerations. On camera, he doesn’t permit himself such excesses as smiling.

In this case, he’s probably right again. Until the quite stirring conclusion, you could have been convinced that it was merely very good Test cricket.

Firstly, compared to the all-timers, with 34 participants, there was a lack of continuity in line-ups. In 2005, England used only 12 players and Australia 13 — many of them all-time greats. It and the Calypso summer prompted motorcades, open-top bus parties, knighthoods and MBEs.

What honours are available to Ajinkya Rahane’s team? Every one of them should be forthcoming. An initial suggestion: give them the keys to the Gabba.



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India beats Australia on last day of Gabba Test, winning Border-Gavaskar Trophy with remarkable run chase


India has scored a famous victory in the Test series against Australia, chasing down 328 on the last day of the final game at the Gabba to win the series 2-1 and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

A draw would have been enough to retain the trophy for India, after their historic series victory in 2018/19, but the impressive side went all out and charged home, scoring 51 off the last five overs to win.

Explosive wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, who was not picked for the first game, hit the winning runs as he completed a match-winning 89.

Late hitting from Pant and debutant Washington Sundar (22 off 29) saw the depleted tourists home, ending Australia’s unbeaten streak at the ground, which lasted more than 32 years.

As evidence of the spare-parts nature of this team, the win was set up by 91 from rookie opener Shubman Gill, who also was not picked for the series opener and was playing in just his third Test, and veteran Cheteshwar Pujara, who held off the Australian attack with a masterful 56 off 211.

It marks the third straight series win against Australia for India, and two in a row on Australian soil.

India batsman Rishabh Pant swings hard on day five of a Test at the Gabba.
Rishabh Pant kept India in the game in the third Test in Sydney and did the same at the Gabba.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

The day started with a clear objective for Australia — 10 wickets to win the match. A fast start was imperative, and it took only a few overs for Australia to find the first breakthrough when Pat Cummins found the edge of Rohit Sharma’s bat to deliver Tim Paine a simple catch.

But if the hosts thought that first wicket would lead to an avalanche, they were sorely mistaken. Joining Gill at the crease was Pujara, and together the Indian pair set out to defy Australia for the rest of the session.

Pujara was resolute in defence, while Gill played the role of the cautious aggressor. The latter played some fantastic shots, most notably when he uppercut Mitchell Starc for six over third man in the last over of the session.

The solid but steady start brought India into the game, and they carried on in the same vein after lunch. Pujara copped a barrage of short balls and wore several of them on the body — and took a few more on the helmet — but refused to give his wicket away.

Meanwhile Gill continued his attack, and after taking Starc for 20 in one particularly poor over for the out of form quick, the young opener was on track for a first Test century.

Indian batsman Cheteshwar Pujara screams in pain as teammate Ajinkya Rahane watches on.
Cheteshwar Pujara copped an absolute barrage of short balls from the Australian bowling attack.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

His fine innings would fall just short of the milestone though, ended by an edge to Steve Smith at first slip off a relatively straight Nathan Lyon delivery.

That brought Ajinkya Rahane to the crease, and the captain looked to keep India’s momentum going with some assertive strokeplay and aggressive running between wickets.

He raced to 24, but was undone by a Cummins short ball which kept a little low. Rahane’s attempt at a ramp over the slips resulted in nothing more than a simple catch to Paine.

India rolled the dice and brought Pant to the crease early — a clear sign of intent — and he and a battered and bruised Pujara saw India to tea with Australia still needing seven wickets, and India 145 runs for victory.

It wouldn’t have taken long after the tea break for Australia to start getting the flashbacks from Sydney, as Pant and Pujara kept them at bay for over after over.

Matthew Wade, David Warner, Steve Smith and Tim Paine surround Indian batsman Rishabh Pant on day five of the Gabba Test.
Australia got desperate as India’s resistance continued on day five.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Australia lacked urgency, and its tactics were questionable for a team that needed to win the match, but India too looked to be taking its time and not chasing the win with the same purpose it had earlier in the day.

The last hope for the Aussies was the new ball, and in the hands of Cummins, it needed only two balls to provide another twist — Pujara was finally given out lbw, and a batsman’s review showed the ball was clipping the very top of the leg bail.

As the match headed into it’s last hour, Australia thought they had Mayank Agarwal caught behind and lost a review when DRS showed no edge, but disappointment quickly turned to elation for Cummins and Australia when Agarwal drove the next ball to Matthew Wade at cover.

Needing 63 to win off 13 overs, Pant was joined at the crease by debutant Sundar, fresh off a half-century in the first innings, and both boosted the run rate.

Sundar fell with the team needing just 10 runs to win, and Shardul Thakur followed suit with three runs left, but nothing could stop Pant and India’s charge to victory.

See how the day unfolded in our live blog.

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Pinned

Australia vs India: Fourth Test at the Gabba

By Dean Bilton

That’s all, folks!

AP

Well that was something, wasn’t it? A day to remember, at the end of a series I think we’ll be talking about for many a year to come. And let’s not forget given everything else going on, we’re probably lucky we even got this series away at all. Good thing we did, hey?

I’m going to sign off the blog here, but there will be plenty more coverage on this incredible result to come. Thank you to everyone who has hopped on board during our cricket blogs during this series, be it for a quick check of the score or for a lengthy conversation during a rain delay. It’s always so much more fun watching the cricket with all of you, especially when the cricket is that good.

Until next time, from me, Jon, Dan and Simon, have a good one.

By Dean Bilton

Ajinkya Rahane speaks

It clearly means a lot. I don’t know how to describe this but I’m extremely proud of the boys.

We just wanted to get close, because we knew Rishabh and Mayank could do it later on.

Taking 20 wickets was the key, which is why we picked five bowlers. All credit to the bowlers, the way they handled the pressure was really good.

After Adelaide we didn’t discuss anything. We just wanted to play our game and show good character. We just wanted to express ourselves as a team. That was the key to the win for us.

Honestly it was hard work hearing Rahane over the top of the Indian fans in the Gabba, who are understandably going bonkers. Rahane signs off by thanking those fans, and by presenting Nathan Lyon with a signed jersey to commemorate his 100th Test match. Now that’s a cricket team right there.

By Dean Bilton

Tim Paine speaks

I’m completely disappointed. In the end we were completely outplayed by a better side in this series.

India turned up today and put their bodies on the line, they kept soldiering on. Full credit to them.

We’ll look back at this, but we have to look forward too because we’ve got a big series against South Africa coming up.

Our bowlers threw everything at them, tried their hearts out, but things didn’t go our way.

By Dean Bilton

Pat Cummins is man of the series

We were discussing this earlier, and there really was no clear stand out for this award, but four wickets today probably swung it in Pat’s favour late.

He really was fantastic across all four Tests. This Australian team has 99 problems, but Pat Cummins definitely isn’t one.

AP

By Dean Bilton

Rishabh Pant is the man of the match

Well deserved. It’s insane to me that he wasn’t picked in Adelaide. He is a special cricketer, one whose rough times you simply have to take because you will eventually get days like today.

AP

By Dean Bilton

So the Indians are currently enjoying a richly-deserved lap of honour. I’m not sure Rishabh Pant has stopped smiling since the ball left his bat that last time.

The Aussies, on the hand, are ashen faced. At some point the conversation will turn to them, and frankly, there ought to be recriminations for Australia after this series. Today especially, Australia was depserately poor.

But that stuff can wait. Right now it’s India’s time. We’ll have presentations very soon, but for now it’s all celebration.

AP
AAP

By Dean Bilton

Audience comment by Mandy

Congratulations India! Amazing match. Amazing series. They played so well. They deserve the series win.<br>Gutted for the Aussies, but so impressed with the Indians attitude to the game all series.

Audience comment by Gari

The spirit and skill of the Indian team is unbelivable

Audience comment by Steve

Well done India amazing effort! One for the ages

Audience comment by Old timer

The best thing about that historic test match is that it was a most deserved win. And a deserved series win. Magic stuff !

By Daniel Colasimone

Fabulous Test match

📻

(AP)

Jim Maxwell calls it:

“This has been a fabulous Test match!

“Even though they looked like they were going to explode with wickets at the end, they hung on.

“Pant was the hero.

“Congratulations to India, who’ve won this game thrillingly, by three wickets.”

By Dean Bilton

I REPEAT, INDIA WINS THE TEST BY THREE WICKETS! INDIA WINS THE SERIES 2-1!

Scenes of unrestrained joy on the Gabba, as Rishabh Pant is overcome by emotion and the weight of his achievements today. The Indian players embrace, a team now united by this accomplishment and immortalised in Test cricket history as one of the most remarkable the game has seen.

Truthfully, has there been a better series victory in Test cricket? A more unlikely one? The obstacles this Indian has overcome to pull this off, it just beggars belief. From the shame of Adelaide, to losing their talisman, to injury after injury after injury, all to arrive at the one place no touring team is supposed to be able to win, chasing a total no team at said ground has EVER chased down to win. And yet they won. With style and grace and skill and so much courage.

This is quite special.

AP

By Dean Bilton

4 overs to go – Josh Hazlewood bowling – 10 to win

Surely Pant will just look to do this casually now? Does he even know how to do that?

HE’S HIT IT FOR FOUR! HOW?!? What a shot from Rishabh Pant! He was falling over, lost his balance completely, but STILL managed to get a pull shot away. What’s more, he absolutely creamed it. Away for four, he ends up on his back, he’s one shot away.

IN THE AIR! SURELY OUT?!? No! There’s no fielder at cover! Pant tried to end it with a six, and could so easily have been out. Five to win.

Shardul gets one on his hip, and tucks it easily down to fine leg… for two! Great running again by India, they’ve been wonderful between the wickets all day. Three to get!

SHARDUL IS OUT! CAUGHT AT MIDWICKET! SURELY NOT?!?!?

A leading edge! Straight up in the air! Straight to Nathan Lyon! Three wickets or three runs, what comes first?

The big question is if the batsmen crossed while that ball was in the air… the answer is yes. So Pant is on strike and Navdeep Saini is protected.

Two balls left in the over.

Miles down the leg side, but not a wide in Test cricket! Clever from Hazlewood. Can he bowl one more dot?

RISHABH PANT HITS A FOUR! INDIA WIN THE TEST BY THREE WICKETS! INDIA WIN THE SERIES 2-1!

By Dean Bilton

5 overs to go – Nathan Lyon bowling – 15 to win

Pant charges and smacks one through the off side… just a single. Honestly, Pant doesn’t even need to play shots as expansive as that. The field is SO spread, just take ones and twos and start celebrating.

Smacked out to deep point again by Washington. One more.

Swept by Rishabh Pant! There’s acres of space out on the on side, so he casually gets through for three. TEN RUNS TO WIN.

BOWLED HIM! WASHINGTON IS BOWLED REVERSE SWEEPING!

Well I’ve not got a single clue why he did that. It’s just taken a tiny bit of his glove on its way to the off stump too. He has done his job wonderfully here, and deserved to be out there at the end. I doubt it will make much difference to the outcome, but it’s a shame for Washington Sundar.

NOW they’ve brought some fielders in around the bat! In the nick of time.

Shardul Thakur defends the last ball of the over. Four to bowl, 10 to win.

By Daniel Colasimone

India’s momentum unstoppable

📻

Stuart Clark:

“I don’t know how the Australians can stop this energy.”

Jim Maxwell: 

“They certainly need to get one or both of these batsmen out. Because they’re on song.

“They seem to have enormous self belief.”

“We are watching potentially one of the greatest Indian victories of all time.

“There’s no doubt about it.

“The roar of the crowd suggest there are quite a few Indians here.”

By Dean Bilton

6 overs to go – Josh Hazlewood bowling – 24 to win

Josh Hazlewood thrown the ball. Can he do anything to stop this Indian charge?

Pant drops and runs a quick single to cover… AND THERE’S AN OVERTHROW! Make that two for Pant. They can walk this in with singles now.

Turned away to fine leg by Pant… and he gets back for two more! Field completely spread by Australia, as it has been for all of Pant’s innings.

Now just a single to square leg from Pant. 19 to win. Unbelievable.

FOUR LEG BYES! Washington has somehow kicked one OVER the slips cordon for four! I don’t know how he did it, but it doesn’t matter now!

Hazlewood ends the over by screaming one past Washington’s outside edge. No nick though, so another successful over for India ends.

By Dean Bilton

7 overs to go – Nathan Lyon bowling – 39 to win

Pant on strike.

RAMPED! FOUR! IT’S PARTY TIME! What a shot from Rishabh Pant! Falling to his knees, he’s flicked one over where leg slip would have been and earns another four!

What a result this will be for India.

FOUR MORE! The most brutal sweep shot you’ll ever see! India is that close!

Now driven out to deep point for a single. 31 from 39 needed.

FOUR BYES! It’s hit a crack, spun the other way and gone straight through the keeper for another boundary. It’s almost over!

Two more for Washington out to deep cover! 15 from the over, and India is about to pull off one of the greatest Test series victories in the history of the sport. 

By Dean Bilton

8 overs to go – Pat Cummins bowling – 50 to win

50 runs, 48 balls.

Short ball, Pant ducks out of the way.

Single to Pant down to fine leg. They creep ever closer. But one way or another, looks like the Border-Gavaskar Trophy will be staying in India.

IN THE AIR! But mid off is deep! Way too deep! It lands a metre or two in front of him!

For two straight days now, I haven’t been able to get my head around the concept that Australia would be at all worried about losing this game.

SIX RUNS! HUUUUUUUUUUUGE! Washington Sundar steps inside a bouncer and hooks Cummins DEEP over fine leg for six runs!

FOUR RUNS! Slashed over the gully for another boundary! Washington getting the job done!

10 runs off the last two balls, and it’s now 39 runs off 42 balls. India should do this!



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Australia vs India live: Brisbane weather to play a part as Australia’s fast bowlers hunt wickets on final day at Gabba



51st over – Hazlewood gets a look at Rahane

AND RAHANE HOOKS HIM FOR FOUR! Probably a top edge technically, but very safe and a boundary for the skipper.

You would have to think Australia needs at least one, but probably two wickets in this session to have any real hope of winning the Test. But getting Pujara and/or Rahane out is easier said than done.

One more for Rahane squirted out to point.

OH MY GOODNESS! Pujara is SMASHED in the head! Straight on the front of the grill, and the neck guard on the back of his head flies off. Incredibly, Pujara is okay.

Just before that ball, Pujara backed away right as Hazlewood was preparing to ball because there was a butterfly in front of him. Hazlewood stared him down a little after that, and looked like he put some extra effort into that one. That was fast, and jagged back hard at the batsman. Pujara hardly moved before it crashed into his grill.

So we’re taking some time to make sure Pujara is okay. It looks like he’s going to continue. How much can one man take?

Pujara defends the last ball of another incredible over. The game has gone up a notch in the last 20 minutes or so.



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India continue to defy the odds as Australia’s frustration in fourth Test continues


At 3:00pm Brisbane time on Monday, eight members of the Gabba ground staff guarded the perimeter of the pitch covers.

Rain was still falling, but lightly enough that a few of the milling figures adopted the familiar stooped pose, scrolling away on smartphones.

There wasn’t much to do other than check the weather radar and figure out what everyone was saying about an Australian declaration.

The home side led by 276 runs at that point.

Whether it factored into his decision or not, Tim Paine had just witnessed firsthand the unpredictability of the fourth-day surface.

Earlier, there had been murmurs of discontent as Cameron Green took 90 deliveries to eke out 37.

Perhaps they weren’t the quick runs the doctor ordered, but whom among his critics would have happily faced up to 140 kilometre per hour deliveries that reached the batsman at shin height as often as they leapt off the surface towards the ribcage?

Paine has an uncanny ability to win coin tosses but he isn’t clairvoyant, and he’s learned not to underestimate this Indian outfit.

Those pointing out that no team has successfully chased more than 236 in the fourth innings of a Brisbane Test weren’t standing behind the stumps on day five in Sydney — nor, indeed, the latter stages on day three of this game, when a tailender made Australia’s vaunted bowling attack look pedestrian.

Half an hour later, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc returned to the crease and Australia batted on.

Mohammed Siraj continued to bowl like he owned the place — which was a kind of triumph itself, no matter how this game pans out — and ended up with his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests.

Australia’s lead was 327 by the time the last wicket fell, and the widening cracks were sending some deliveries at right angles.

That India remains a puncher’s chance of preventing Australian victory is a stunning achievement.

Indian bowler Mohammed Siraj smiles as his teammates approach him after another Test wicket against Australia.
The Indian attack took wickets in bursts on day four.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Australia’s bowlers entered this game with 1033 wickets between them, India just 11.

Taking 20 wasn’t easy, but India’s attack did it on Monday with the swagger of veterans.

Thanks to the obligatory injury to Navdeep Saini, Siraj and Shardul Thakur had to do it all themselves and almost did, taking nine second-innings wickets between them.

Shardul’s match analysis so far is seven wickets and a game-changing 67 with the bat.

If things go wrong for India on day five, Siraj will still leave a hero.

Perhaps the pampered tennis stars who’ve been griping about their lockdown experiences could read his story for a dose of perspective, or imagine Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc firing Kookaburras into their ribs.

Ground staff bring covers onto the field at the Gabba as rain falls
The rain stopped play on day four at the Gabba.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Australia can still take away some positives from a frustrating day.

Pressed into action following a mini-collapse, Green was not visibly daunted by the high-pressure scenario.

Composure has been the hallmark of his debut Test series, and unlike a few of his more senior teammates, he accepts his fate once beaten.

Steve Smith, on the other hand, reviewed a dismissal so clear cut you wonder whether he’ll become the first man to call for DRS when he’s clean bowled.

Marcus Harris and David Warner made the fluent starts Australia has lacked from its openers all summer, although there will only be a place for one of them once Will Pucovski’s shoulder heals.

Marnus Labuschagne could be said to have batted selflessly, moving the game on according to tactical requirements and sacrificing his wicket in the process.

Pat Cummins finally released his shackles.

Yet serious problems remain.

Australia batsman Steve Smith hits a cricket ball into Indian fielder Mayank Agarwal during a Test.
Steve Smith reviewed a clear-cut dismissal.(AAP: Darren England)

What India has exploited all summer — and with an ever-changing line-up, meaning that the trend lies within the home side — is Australia’s frequent and damaging lapses into negative momentum.

The cliche that ‘one brings two’ has held all summer.

On Monday, Australia had these patches again: the first two wickets fell for two runs in the space of six deliveries; three and four fell for nothing within four deliveries.

In the first innings, 3-4 in 14 balls was another sequence.

Recently, the principle applies equally to the bowlers, who are battle-weary and sore, it’s true, but have repeatedly found a holding pattern.

If they bowl as short in the second innings as they did in the first, and spend similarly prolonged periods ignoring the fundamental principle of attacking the stumps, rain will not be their only obstacle on day five.

Perhaps it will be a finale for the more settled members of India’s team.

One of the most arresting sights of this tour occurred three weeks ago in Melbourne, when a member of the Indian coaching staff faced the wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and gently hit balls into his gloves.

It couldn’t be called a training drill, really, because it didn’t replicate anything that would happen in a game.

Not even a B-team junior would bother with a routine so basic.

You watched it and thought, “no wonder this guy can’t catch a cold”.

On Monday, Matthew Wade strangled his first delivery down the leg side and provided Pant with one of his toughest catching chances all summer.

He needed to dive at full stretch, reel it in safely and hold tight as he crashed into the ground.

None of those things are Pant’s strengths.

But against the laws of probability, Pant caught it, yet another defiance of the odds by the team that will not die. Would you bet against them?



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Australian News

Australia sets India 328 to win Gabba Test and Border-Gavaskar series, before rain ends day four


In scenes reminiscent of the last Test in Sydney, Australia will need to take all 10 Indian wickets on day five to win the game, but this time the trophy will be up for grabs and the weather will almost certainly play a part.

After a slower-than-expected fourth day at the Gabba that was twice halted by rain, India can try to chase down the 328-run target to win the game and the series, or they can try to bat out the day for a draw, which would be good enough to tie the series at 1-1 and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Australia, meanwhile, will have to bowl India out to win back bragging rights for the first time since 2015.

The bowlers could have possibly made more inroads into the Indian line-up on day four had there been a bit more urgency in the Australian batting tactics.

An early declaration looked on when the opening pair of David Warner and Marcus Harris came out with an aggressive but controlled approach, hitting four boundaries off the first 16 balls of the day and taking 40 off the first seven overs without ever really getting too agricultural in their strokeplay.

But suddenly wickets started falling. First Harris awkwardly gloved a Shardul Thakur bouncer to Rishabh Pant, and Warner was out just two runs short of a half-century when he was trapped in front by debutant off-spinner Washington Sundar one over later.

Despite the double blow, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith kept the scoring rate high, with 32 runs from four overs, but Labuschagne nicked Mohammed Siraj into the slips after scoring 25 at better than a run a ball.

Australia batsman Steve Smith hits a cricket ball into Indian fielder Mayank Agarwal during a Test.
Australia’s batting tactics left some confused on day four.(AAP: Darren England)

Three balls later, Matthew Wade was out for a duck after edging down the leg side, and Cameron Green had to work with Smith to consolidate and just survive through to lunch, which they did with the lead having ballooned to 182 runs.

Fireworks were expected to come after lunch, but neither batsman managed tee off, with Smith eventually reaching another half-century, only to edge Siraj into the slips on 55.

Captain Tim Paine put on 31 runs with Green before the West Australian nicked off to Shardul Thakur for 37, and Paine (27) joined him soon after as he chased a short ball in trying to boost the run rate.

Rain arrived one over before tea was scheduled, but there was still no declaration coming, despite a healthy 276-run lead.

Instead, Paine sent Cummins and Mitchell Starc back out under lights and the latter was gone for 1 shortly after the resumption.

Even as the lead passed 300 runs and the artificial light took hold as clouds darkened the skies, no declaration came.

Nathan Lyon was eventually dismissed for 13 and Josh Hazlewood for 9 as the Australian innings ended on 294, with a 327-run lead.

But the lack of urgency from Australia’s batting saw them lose a race against the elements, with the rain arriving and forcing the teams from the field just 11 deliveries into the innings, with four runs ticked off the target.

Look back at how the day unfolded in our live blog.

Live updates

Pinned

Australia vs India: Fourth Test at the Gabba

By Dean Bilton

Play has been abandoned

AP

That’s that for day four! It leaves the Test very nicely poised, with the whole series on the line on the fifth and final day. The only thing that could ruin this is rain, so cross your fingers we get an uninterrupted crack at it tomorrow. All three results are on the table, which is just the way we like it.

We’ll be back for a 9.30am AEST start tomorrow (weather permitting), so make sure you join us then. Thanks for your company today, and have a lovely evening.

By Dean Bilton

Surely the Australian team looking at your radar/paint graphic there would be saying “Oh, dear God no!!”

-H.B.W.

Sorry, let me fix it…

By Dean Bilton

Bit of rain around, ay?

By Dean Bilton

It’s dark, and it’s not going away any time soon. We apparently need to resume play by 5.30pm Brisbane time (in a little under an hour) or else that’s it. Looking at the radar and the sky, we aren’t going to be getting back on by 5.30pm.

WHO COULD HAVE POSSIBLY SEEN THIS COMING?!?

By Dean Bilton

2nd over – Josh Hazlewood to bowl

Australia’s best bowler in this Test. He’s bowling to Shubman Gill.

There’s some swing! Too wide for Gill to need to play at, but still!

He’s finding that Hazlewood line and length already, but Gill is defending well.

YEP, HERE COMES THE RAIN! COVERS COMING ON!

By Dean Bilton

1st over – Mitchell Starc gets the brand newy

Righto, we’re going to have a go here. Not sure how much we’ll get in, but every ball is an opportunity for Australia.

Starc to Roshit Sharma. Series on the line. All to play for.

Rohit defends the first ball in at his feet. Bit of shape, but a little too short to really tell.

First ball Starc pitches up doesn’t swing at all. Which is a little concerning.

FOUR RUNS! Now there’s a shot from Rohit Sharma! Just a glorious cover drive, that has gone so quickly to the fence the camera couldn’t keep up. No swing at all from Starc, full and wide.

One over down, four from it.

By Dean Bilton

It’s on its way

Audience comment by Koala55

India can get this with 3 singles every over. Very doable…they don’t even have to be aggressive.

Audience comment by Bruce Russell

I would love to be proven wrong, but I can’t see Australian bowlers taking 10 wickets. I suspect they are mentally and physically exhausted, and this is actually quite a good Indian batting lineup.

Audience comment by Jo

Pleased for Siraj.<br>Now, Aussie bowlers – do your stuff!

By Dean Bilton

76th over – Siraj looking for his own five-fa

Cummins slogs to the man in the deep, and doesn’t take the single. So it’s not REALLY even about runs right now. What is it about, then?

And now they’ve taken a single… oh wait, they want two! But Cummins is sent back! And he nearly gets run out! And all of this is pointless!

FOUR! Hazlewood goes bang through the covers again! Why were they shielding him from the strike?

AND HAZLEWOOD IS OUT! FIVE WICKETS FOR MOHAMMED SIRAJ!

AUSTRALIA ALL OUT 294, INDIA NEEDS 328 TO WIN

Hazlewood went the ramp again but actually made proper contact this time and was caught at third man. A lovely moment for Mohammed Siraj though, his first five wicket haul in Test cricket. He’s a little overwhelmed in the moment, which is fair enough given everything he’s been through.

So Australia will get a crack at them now – but for how long? I reckon the rain is no more than 20 minutes away, and when it comes, I think that’s it. If Australia gets a couple of overs in tonight they will be lucky.

By Dean Bilton

Baffling that we’re still batting here. If I was India I wouldn’t even bother trying to bowl Australia out at this stage, every over that ticks by suits them perfectly.

-Sean

And that’s exactly what India are doing. Just bowling short and/or wide.

By Dean Bilton

75th over – Shardul looking for the five-fa

Ramped away over gully by Hazlewood. There was a third man in, but he didn’t hit it well enough to reach him. Just a single.

Field completely spread for Cummins now, men back everywhere.

A loose short ball there from Shardul. So loose, in fact, it’s called a wide.

Cummins takes a single then denies Hazlewood the chance to take one of his own, as another over ends.

By Dean Bilton

74th over – Siraj to Cummins again

SIX OF THEM! Cleared the front leg and tonked it back over the bowler’s head for six! Onya Patty.

Another well struck drive from Cummins, but mid-off got a finger to that one. Just two.

Eight from the over. The rain remains on the way.

By Dean Bilton

73rd over – Shardul to Lyon

AND LYON IS OUT! STRAIGHT TO COVER!

Well there’s probably not much point worrying about a declaration, as it looks like Australia will be all out soon anyway. Lyon just hit that straight to the fielder at cover at about stomach height.

Josh Hazlewood at the crease now. Shardul one away from a five-wicket haul, to go with his fine batting effort.

FOUR! How’s that from the Hoff? No need to move your feet, just throw the hands through it. Fair cover drive that.

So a wicket and a boundary off that over.

By Dean Bilton

AP

By Dean Bilton

72nd over – Siraj bowling again

Cummins hoiks, away to deep square leg for a single.

TOP EDGE FOR SIX! Lyon will take those! Genuine top edge on that pull shot, but it’s flown off the bat and cleared the rope easily.

Now an inside edge from Lyon, away for one more run. The lead is now 307.

Cummins is swinging a bit harder now. Can’t find a gap for love nor money, but the effort is there.

Another massive slog, but no contact at all this time. That’s the over, eight from it.

By Dean Bilton

It wld not surprise me more rain for bris in a while…there’s a fair bit inland at the moment running sth so who knows.

-Chris

Yes, looking at the radar I reckon we’ll get maybe 30-45 minutes in before the rest of today is washed out.

With that in mind, I’m thinking Australia has no real plan to bowl at all today.

By Dean Bilton

71st over – Shardul to Lyon now

Another tidy little pull shot from Lyon, around the corner for another single.

Lots and lots of short stuff now, reminiscent of what the Indian tail copped yesterday.

Eventually a no ball is called — too many bouncers over head height.

This one fractionally fuller but still pulled away by Cummins, and they run three.

And there’s your over bowled.



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Australian News

Fourth Test between Australia and India could have been played in Perth instead of Brisbane: Dirk Nannes


With just four Tests played over the current Australian summer, ABC Sport commentator Dirk Nannes has questioned why Brisbane was given hosting rights instead of Perth.

The hard-fought series between Australia and India has been played in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, while the new Perth Stadium going without a Test.

The series is going down to the wire at the Gabba, with Australia seeking a win to clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India only require a draw.

Nannes said the investment in Perth Stadium and the quality of the cricket played on the grounds meant there was a strong argument to play a match in WA ahead of Brisbane.

“They’ve just put a billion dollars into a stadium and put on a great Test match when they’ve had it there,” he said.

Australia’s superb record at the ‘Gabbatoir’ is often raised as a reason to hold a game there, with the hosts having not lost a Test in Brisbane since 1988/89.

“Or do you pick it on your place that puts on the best product?”

Nannes’s comments about the viability of the Brisbane Test came in the wake of low crowd numbers on day four. The crowd capacity had been limited to 10,000 each day due to coronavirus concerns, but the Monday crowd was a fraction of that.

“There’s only 2,200 people who find it entertaining enough to turn up and watch,” Nannes said.

“I just feel like it’s a trend over the years that people aren’t coming to the Brisbane Test in the numbers that you get elsewhere,” he said, pointing out that it was still school holidays in Queensland.

SCG and MCG have the advantage of consistent dates

Australia batsman David Warner connects with a pull shot at the Gabba against India.
The Test and series are evenly poised.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Fellow commentator Quentin Hull said it was harder for Queenslanders to blank out their diaries for the annual Test, as it wasn’t on a set date.

“Everyone has lower crowds on day four. Aside from Melbourne and Sydney, you aren’t sure when the Test will be played each year,” Hull said.

“Melbourne is always on on Boxing Day. The SCG is always in the New Year.

“This is an event that doesn’t have a set date in the calendar.”

Nannes admitted the Brisbane pitch was of a high standard.

“This is my favourite cricket pitch in the country.

“You need an atmosphere. You need bums on seats in Australia. And the ground is somewhat antiquated.

“I just feel with the amount of investment that has gone into Perth — and you don’t just chase the money — but [also] the quality of cricket Perth has put on in the last few years, they might deserve it.

“This topic generates discussion every year, and it’s always going to be along state lines.”

Both Nannes and Hull agreed they would like to see more Tests played, even if it doesn’t generate the revenue of limited-overs cricket.

In 2019 former Australian batsman Ed Cowan called the Gabba a “concrete bowl”.

“Brisbane is not a great place to watch Test cricket. It’s hot, it’s sweaty, you’re in a concrete bowl,” he said

“There’s nothing great about the Gabba except probably the wicket.”

Listen to live coverage of Australia vs India on ABC Sport.



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Australian News

Mitchell Starc doing his job for Australia against India, Stuart Clark says



Former Australian seamer Stuart Clark has defended Mitchell Starc from his critics, saying he is performing a specific role for this Australian team and doing it well.

All the Australian bowlers have struggled to swing the ball this summer, and as the primary weapon in Starc’s arsenal, it has made him a reduced threat.

His record of 11 wickets at an average of 33.90 in the series is sound, but he trails his pace partners Josh Hazlewood (16 at 15.93) and Pat Cummins (17 at 21.52).

But Clark, speaking on Grandstand at Stumps after play on day three, says Starc (2-88) is doing what it says on the tin, after a stronger performance on Sunday.

“People can be really critical of Mitchell Starc but his job in this team is to run in and bowl fast,” he said.

“He picked up the crucial wicket of Rahane and he picked up a crucial wicket late in the day.

Hazlewood the best of the bunch in Brisbane

Clark identified Hazlewood as the pick of the bunch in India’s first innings, and his figures of 5-58 backed that up.

“Out of all the quicks I thought he was the best, he hit nice lengths all day, toiled away, toiled away, toiled away, picked up the just desserts at the end of the day,” Clark said.

“He’s one of those guys that is just pretty simple, not a lot can go wrong with his action, bowls a lot of balls in the right spot.

“He may have fractionally got carried away at the end there with that short stuff, but once he got back into where he needed to be, he was the guy that looked the most threatening.

“The ball he got Pujara with was a beautiful delivery, pitched around off stump, seamed away. We know how difficult Pujara is to dislodge.”

Bowlers work well in combination

Clark says the thing that makes this Australian attack so good is how they complement each other.

“Hazlewood’s your guy that runs in all day – and Pat Cummins, arguably the best bowler, did what he does best, ball after ball, broke the 100-run partnership when nothing else was happening,” he said.

“Nathan Lyon didn’t get a lot out of the wicket, toiled away all day, but he’ll come into his own as the match goes on.”



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Australia may lead India in fourth Test in Brisbane but under-strength tourists continue to thrive


Justin Langer is one of those rare sporting characters who is most intimidating when he smiles.

The Australian coach wore a typically disconcerting grin on Sunday morning, shortly before play began at the Gabba. He was talking about Mitchell Starc. Langer seemed certain it would be a big day for the left-arm paceman.

In the early stages of the first session, the prophecy was playing out. Starc’s pace was up, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were a little jumpy, and the edges were coming thick and fast.

All was primed for one of those performances Starc has produced so often in home Tests — four or five quick wickets and a couple of bruises to bully out the middle and lower-order batsmen.

Langer’s faith in the New South Welshman is well-founded in statistics. In the last three Australian summers, Starc’s returns have been 29 wickets at 17.44 apiece, 25 at 25.84 and 22 at 23.54. Those are fine numbers for the third option in a world-beating pace attack. Starc’s remarkable strike rate of 48.9 is the best of any bowler in Australia’s all-time top 20.

Yet he has flagged noticeably this summer, an underacknowledged factor in Australia’s struggles.

Leading into this game, nine series wickets at 31.66 probably flattered his performances. Along with Nathan Lyon (six wickets at 57.66 in the first three Tests), he’s been fortunate that the startling brilliance of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood and the uncertainty of Australia’s batting line-up have provided ample distraction.

Both Starc and Lyon could and probably should have turned a corner today, padding their stats and reconfirming their positions. Starc looked most likely. He was also a little unlucky; he certainly didn’t benefit from Tim Paine’s reactive placement of floating slips, nor the rub of the green.

After lunch, Hazlewood snuffed out promising innings from Mayank Agarwal and Rishabh Pant. The score was 6-186, unheralded newbies Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur were at the crease and another Brisbane rout looked certain. It was, in other words, a situation tailor-made for Starc and Lyon.

Instead, India surged again. An audacious, record-breaking seventh-wicket partnership of 125 took hold and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy started slipping away before Australia’s eyes.

Indian batsman Shardul Thakur drives as Australian wicketkeeper Tim Paine looks on at the Gabba.
Shardul Thakur proved to be a frustration for the home side.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

In his milestone Test, Lyon was milked for runs like a novice, not a man on the cusp of 400 Test wickets. Just before the final drinks break, Washington dropped to one knee for a slog-sweep and launched the spinner over the ropes with a no-look six.

After a defensive prod back down the pitch, Lyon was reduced to pegging the ball back at the debutant’s head.

If that wasn’t bad enough, Shardul’s sparkling knock went close to demoralising Australia. A 29-year-old fill-in with a first-class batting average of 16, he smacked Starc around like he was a village trundler.

And the highlights were entirely orthodox, not lucky swipes: after tea, Shardul pushed confidently onto the front foot and stroked a delightful straight drive to the fence when Starc over-pitched. Two deliveries later, the retaliatory short ball was dispatched over point for four more.

A week ago, Paine crowed that he couldn’t wait to get the Indians onto the Gabba. On Sunday, he was spilling catches, wasting reviews and tactical inspiration was in short supply.

With Cummins misfiring for the first time all summer, Starc was doubly exposed. A freeze-frame graphic spoke of his scattergun method: at the point of delivery, all the other Australian bowlers had their eyes fixed on the batsman. Starc’s were firmly shut.

Australia wicketkeeper Tim Paine speaks to bowler Pat Cummins on the field during a Test at the Gabba.
Tim Paine will hope to get more out of Pat Cummins when the hosts bowl again.(AP: Tertius Pickard)

Incensed at the impertinence of India’s newest pair of heroes, Starc cranked the speed dial up to 150kph and aimed at the body — his go-to move this summer, but not a very successful one.

Even at that speed, you significantly reduce your chances of taking wickets if barely one in 10 deliveries is aimed at the stumps. Surprise surprise, when Shardul was finally dismissed for 67, it was because Cummins returned and bowled stump-to-stump.

Does Australia deserve to win this series? It is hard to mount a convincing argument that a pair of brilliant batsmen and two great fast bowlers make a champion team.

India, on the other hand, has showed that it can throw together almost any combination of 11 fit players and thrive, even at bogey grounds, even at the end of a punishing tour, even when exhaustion is surely setting in.

There was something else Langer said before play that stuck in the mind as India’s innings wore on. For advice on the Brisbane thunderstorms that might wipe out a chunk of day five and ensure India’s retention of the trophy, the coach has been leaning on Michael Neser, the wily local paceman whose primary tasks this summer have been to work on his luscious beard and bowl in the nets.

On today’s evidence, he can consider himself unlucky that his only other role is amateur meteorologist.



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Australia takes narrow lead over India into day four after bowlers struggle at the Gabba


Australia’s hopes of reclaiming the Border-Gavaskar Trophy are on a knife’s edge after day three of the final Test at the Gabba.

The hosts take a 54-run lead into day four with openers David Warner (20 not out) and Marcus Harris (1 not out) at the crease.

Needing a win to take back the silverware, Australia ran into resistance from Indian newcomers Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur just when they thought they were getting on top of the game.

India was eventually bowled out for 336, just 33 runs behind Australia’s first innings of 369, despite the tail being ostensibly exposed.

Josh Hazlewood produced the excellent figures of 5-59 on a difficult day for bowlers.

Australia would have hoped for a much better day after removing overnight batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in the first session, then getting rid of Mayank Agarwal and Rishabh Pant in the second.

But the arrival of the bowlers to the crease did not bring about the collapse the hosts were looking for, as debutant Washington and second-gamer Shardul dug in for a 123-run partnership.

Australia’s vaunted bowling attack, which failed to bowl out India in 131 overs on days four and five in Sydney, battled for 36 overs against the pair before Shardul finally chopped on against Pat Cummins.

That was just Australia’s 12th wicket from its past 233 overs of bowling in the series.

It did expose India’s true tail, and Navdeep Saini lasted five overs before fending a Hazlewood ball to Steve Smith in the slips.

Washington finally fell to Mitchell Starc next over, bunting one to gully revelation Cameron Green.

Siraj was the last man to fall when Hazlewood completed his five-fer with a clean-bowled.

David Warner and Marcus Harris successfully negotiated the half-hour before stumps, adding 21 runs to Australia’s lead.

The goal tomorrow for the hosts will be to pile on runs as quickly as possible to give themselves enough time to bowl out India again, though the Brisbane weather may end up having a say in the result.

See how it all played out in our live blog.

Live updates

Pinned

Australia vs India: Fourth Test at the Gabba

By Dean Bilton

Australia still just in front?

AP

Stuart Clark thinks so. Here’s how he sums up the day:

It was a great fightback from India today. When they lost Rishabh Pant we were all worried it would be a huge lead for the Australians.

Unfortunately for the Australians Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur came out and batted beautifully. Both of them played some nice shots — they had a bit of luck along the way but you get that in Test cricket — and they took the game up to Australia.

As the game sits here at the moment, Australia is probably still just in front front, but it could have been a whole lot worse for India and a whole lot better for Australia. Australia is still in a position to dictate, score as many as they need and when the time is right, send India back in.

If we get two full days without rain there is time for a result, but looking at the forecast we might not get that. I’m not going to say it … but tomorrow morning will be a big, big session.

By Jon Healy

Stumps: Australia is 0-21, leading by 54 (Warner 20, Harris 1)

(AP)

There’s a lot of work to be done for Australia’s maligned batting line-up, but this opening pair did their job tonight, especially David Warner with that explosive over off Siraj.

Again, the batsmen need to score quickly and score well tomorrow to give this team a chance of victory in the game and the series.

It’s especially important considering how hard the Aussies have found it to bowl out the Indian batsmen, at one point taking 11 wickets from 233 overs between Brisbane and Sydney.

Making matters worse, rain is forecast…

So at least two big sessions of batting are required tomorrow, meaning David Warner and Steve Smith probably need to be involved in a big way, perhaps with a bit of Cameron Green thrown in.

Then it will come down to the bowlers again.

As far as today goes, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur deserve all the praise they’re getting for the 123-run partnership that helped India get within 33 runs of Australia’s first innings.

Now they have a job to do with the ball tomorrow.

 Can’t wait. See you then!

By Jon Healy

The last over of the day will be bowled by Natarajan.

Warner is defending well and shouting his “NO RUN”.

Very wide from Natarajan. That’s a waste of a delivery.

Warner works a single to mid-wicket, so Harris will face the last ball of the day.

It’s left alone. And that’s that.

By Jon Healy

So today your headline reads “Indian tail wags..falls short of Australian total”. Whereas all day yesterday you ran with the “Australian innings on a knife edge”. As far as I’m aware, Australia are 30 runs ahead so why the biased reporting ?

-Confused

Because Australia needs to win and India only needs a draw, so the equation is different for each team.

By Jon Healy

5th over – Washington Sundar is bowling. Let’s boogie.

He’s given Warner a bit of room.

Guided to third man for three.

But those are the only runs of the over. And India is rushing to get one more in.

By Jon Healy

4th over – Natarajan to Harris

He’s angling in at off stump and swinging it away. Harris leaves.

Good defence as one straightens up.

Clipped off the pads by Harris to get off the mark. Warner wanted two, but Harris said no thanks.

Thick edge through the gully region, but Warner’s lucky it didn’t go to hand. Three runs instead.

By Jon Healy

Warner is going to give us a half century here

-ThePostman

Tonight?

By Jon Healy

Warner’s taking up some time between overs to readjust himself.

Four slips and a gully for Siraj to Warner, who leaves the first ball.

And the second.

FOUR! First short one and it’s pulled from outside off through mid-wicket. Shot. And Australia needs this from Warner.

F’more! Pushed down the ground. Perfect timing and it rocketed past mid-off.

BANG! Cut this time. Not great bowling, but Warner is just standing and delivering to all parts of the ground. Good to see this again. Now let’s hope it lasts for Australia’s sake.

Defended to end the over.

By Jon Healy

T Natarajan will bowl from the other end.

Huge out-swing. Again, the line’s off, but it’s hooping all of a sudden. These blokes must be bowling at just the right pace.

He’s way too wide.

Still very wide. Dean’s just posited that it might be a defensive tactic. Bowl 6 feet outside off for a couple of sessions and force Australia to chase the game.

Drop and run. And it’s almost a run out! And Warner’s hurt himself. It was a tight single at the best of times, but Warner’s looking a bit worse for wear as he gets up.

By Jon Healy

Marcus Harris will face the first ball from Mohammed Siraj.

The first ball is wasted, way too wide. At least Siraj will be nice and limbered up from going the tonk.

Rishabh Pant now has padding on that left elbow that got injured while batting in the first innings in Sydney.

A little bit of in-swing for Siraj, but too far down leg.

A maiden to start.

By Jon Healy

Why bowl bouncers all the time at tail ends. Not skilful bowling in my opinion just cheap and a lack of class. Cricket can be played better than that and not
lose anything from it 😎

-Lin

By Dean Bilton

Kristen Beams sums it all up

AP

Josh Hazlewood definitely deserved that five wicket haul, he’s been so good. He’s been one of the only bowlers to get some swing out of the ball, and a good economy.

It was entertaining batting while it lasted, but India have plenty to be pleased about. What the Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur have been able to do has changed the whole dynamic of the game. Australia would have expected to be batting a long time ago, but instead they have a pretty tricky little period to face.

What they come out and do will be very interesting to watch.

By Jon Healy

Australia leads by 33 heading into the second innings

So the Australian openers will have an awkward 20 minutes to negotiate. They have to launch though, maybe not immediately, but not too soon after.

Because they need to build a rapid lead, then they can treat tomorrow like an ODI, try to knock off 250-300 in two sessions, declare and hope for good weather too.

But anyway, David Warner and Marcus Harris need to make it through tonight first.

By Jon Healy

Is there something wrong with the stumps?

-NowYork

Yeah, they’re too short.

By Jon Healy

112th over – Hazlewood once more

FOUR! Another short one uppercut by Siraj. Cop that, Josh.

A full one, sliced away to deep point. Which, what’s he doing there?

BOWLED HIM! India is all out for 336.

Top of off stump. Imagine that.

And he’s giving the number 10 a staredown. Class.

By Jon Healy

111th over – Starc coming in again

He refuses to bowl anything but short balls. He’s just trying to break arms. Starc is supposed to have a dangerous yorker, right?

See! With the short balls, he can back away and flail. No edge, no wicket.

IT’S AT THE STUMPS! And he’s almost chopped on. Well dug out. But thank the Lord for a ball aimed at the wooden pegs.

Another yorker and the Aussies go up for LBW, but it’s missing leg stump.

By Jon Healy

110th over – Hazlewood again

Yes, Mohammed! He’s wandering over to the off side and tries to belt it over fine leg. Love it.

He backs away and slaps through point. They take the single, so Natarajan will be on strike.

It’s short! Come on, guys. Bowl at the stumps. He averages 2 in first-class cricket.

Bang. Hit down the ground for one. He’s happy with the single to get off strike.

More short stuff. This is so frustrating. Every time the tail gets in, Australia’s quicks just bounce ’em.

Smacked over mid-off and Pat Cummins tracks it down. They took two, so Natarajan will be on strike to Starc. Good luck, mate.

By Jon Healy

Saini getting out was probably for the best. (AP)

By Jon Healy

109th over – Starc takes over from Cummins

The first ball is short and Washington guides to third man, and runs hard to get back for a second. How good is this guy?

Down leg. He’s also sticking with a short line.

A big full yorker is dug out by Washington, who neglects to take a single to mid-off.

Washington has fallen!!

He bunts a short ball off his chest to gully and Cameron Green takes a sharp catch down low. What a knock from the debutant though. 62 badly needed runs for India. Brilliant.

OUCH! The first and only ball Starc will bowl to Natarajan this over is a nasty bouncer. And he wears it on the armguard I think. Feels unnecessary.



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