Gill's half-century gives India faint hope of series victory

Australia must win the match to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy

  
Washington Sundar of India celebrates his half century during day three of the fourth test match between Australia and India at the Gabba in Brisbane, Australia, January 17, 2021. AAP Image/Darren England via REUTERS

Washington Sundar of India celebrates his half century during day three of the fourth test match between Australia and India at the Gabba in Brisbane, Australia, January 17, 2021. AAP Image/Darren England via REUTERS

Shubman Gill brought up a rousing half-century to push an injury-ravaged India within 245 runs of a series victory at lunch on the final day of the fourth test decider against Australia in Brisbane on Tuesday.

Playing in only his third test, the doughty 21-year-old steadied India after paceman Pat Cummins had Rohit Sharma caught behind for seven on a glorious morning at the Gabba after the tourists resumed on four for no loss.

Gill was 64 not out, with Cheteshwar Pujara on eight off 90 balls, and India 83 for one with little threat of rain interrupting proceedings.

Australia must win the match to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy, while holders India need only a draw to retain it two years after their breakthrough 2-1 win in the 2018/19 series Down Under.

Australia set India 328 runs to win on day four before most of the last session was washed out by rain.

The highest successful chase in a Gabba test was in 1951 when Australia finished 236 for seven, but there have been big scores in recent years. Pakistan racked up 450 in the fourth innings at the ground in a lost cause in 2016.

Cummins coaxed Rohit forward and caught a thick edge, with wicketkeeper-captain Tim Paine diving to his right to take a sharp catch.

Gill survived a big appeal for lbw after not playing a shot when on 30 against spinner Nathan Lyon.

Given not out, Australia reviewed the decision. Though the ball-tracking technology showed the delivery crashing into the top of leg-stump, the decision was deemed "umpire's call" and Gill survived.

While Australia could barely lay a glove on Gill, their fast bowlers peppered Pujara with short balls.

Mitchell Starc contributed to the attack, despite fears over his hamstring late on day four.

Cummins sent a bouncer thudding into the back of Pujara's helmet as he ducked and took his eyes off the ball late in the session.

After being examined by the India team doctor, Pujara resumed and endured more blows before reaching the break.

With Australia frustrated, Gill rubbed salt into the wounds in the last over of the session, thrashing Starc for a six over the third man boundary.

He survived a caught behind appeal on the last ball of the session off Starc which Australia declined to review.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford) ((ian.ransom@thomsonreuters.com; +61 3 9286 1447;))

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