India need 328 runs to win the fourth Test against Australia after Mohammed Siraj picked his first five-wicket haul to end the hosts’ second inning on 294 runs here at the Gabba on Monday.
Australia began the third session from 243/7, with Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc on the field. However, India did not take much time to get the first breakthrough of the session as Siraj dismissed Starc (1), bringing Nathan Lyon out on the field. Indian bowlers kept a tight rein on the tailenders, not allowing them to cause much trouble. The visitors took wickets at regular intervals and ended Australia’s second inning on 294. Siraj picked the final wicket, removing Josh Hazlewood, and took his tally to five. Shardul Thakur picked four wickets while Washington Sundar scalped one wicket.
Earlier, starting the second session with the game evenly poised, Steve Smith and Cameron Green played contrasting knocks. Smith looked brutal and went for anything that was in his slot.
The right-handed batsman hit a quickfire half-century as Australia’s lead went over 200, bringing up the fifty-run partnership between Smith and Green. However, Siraj made up for the dropped catch and picked an important wicket Smith. Paine and Green then stitched a brief 31-run partnership before Shardul removed the all-rounder in the 61st over.
Meanwhile, Paine kept ticking the scoreboard and took a calculative risk in order to score quick runs. Shardul dismissed Paine as Rishabh Pant took a sharp catch to reduce Australia to 242/7.
In the first session, Siraj struck two in one over while debutants Shardul and Sundar picked a wicket each as Australia faltered after a good start. Australia were ahead in the game with the lead of over 120 runs with 10 wickets in the bag after a couple of expensive overs from the visitors but a flurry of wickets after the first hour of play saw the hosts on the backfoot.
Resuming day four at 21/0, Marcus Harris and David Warner added 68 runs to the overnight score before Shardul Thakur sent Harris back. Sundar trapped Warner in front of the stumps to reduce Australia to 91/2. Runs kept coming at a rapid pace and the departure of Aussie openers didn’t have any impact on the scoring rate.
However, Mohammed Siraj struck two wickets in the first over of the new spell, dismissing both Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Wade. While Labuschagne scored a brisk 25 off 22 balls, Wade departed without troubling the scoreboard.
On day three, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur showed grit and determination to keep India in the game before Australia bundled out India for 336 in the first innings courtesy of a five-wicket haul by Josh Hazlewood.
Brief scores: Australia 369 and 294 (David Warner 48, Steven Smith 55; Mohammed Siraj 5/73) vs India 336 (Shardul Thakur 67, Washinton Sundar 62; Josh Hazlewood 5-57).