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AUS vs IND, 4th Test: Sundar and Shardul’s batting heroics light up the Gabba on Day 3

A 7th wicket partnership to remember for India at the Gabba as the visitors yet again denied Australia a strong push for a win. India were all out for 336 and in response, Australia batted out 6 overs in the second innings with 21/0 at Stumps on Day 3.

Debutant Washington Sundar and bowler Shardul Thakur batted together to stich a memorable 123 run partnership and scoring maiden Test half-centuries. The duo batted for 36 overs and helped India post a total of 336 runs, with a deficit of only 44.

The final session of the day’s play saw a frustrated Australian side searching for an inroad to the Sundar-Shardul partnership. In the second over after the Tea break, Shardul hit Starc for back-to-back boundaries, one driven though mid-off and the other cut over point. Both Sundar and Shardul batted with a lot of resolve, causing more concerns for the hosts . Shardul particulalry looked very comfortable against Starc as he went for another brilliant cover drive on the up off Starc. Soon enough, Shardul stepped out to launch a maximum, thereby bringing up his maiden half-century in Test cricket. Well supported by Sundar on the other end who played a perfect cover drive to bring up the century stand.

Later Sundar got to his maiden Test fifty. The duo was going strong until Shardul was bowled by Cummins for 67. Navdeep Saini then walked in and stayed at the crease for 14 deliveries, till Hazlewood got the better of him. Siraj walked in and went for a couple of boundaries and kept the scoreboard ticking. Washington Sundar was the next to depart. An excellent catch from Cameron Green in the gully ended Sundar’s stay in the middle. A superb innings on debut as he brought the deficit down to 41.

Natarajan and Siraj batted for a few more deliveries until Hazlewood picked up his fifth scalp of the innings. India 336 all out! 

David Warner and Marnus Harris opened for Australia as Siraj took the new cherry from one end. At Stumps, Austalia were 21/0, thereby leading by 54 runs.

Earlier in the day, the Australian bowlers were right on the money in the morning session. Under an overcast sky, they bowled with a lot of discipline and even used the short ball to good effect. Cheteshwar Pujara was tested with a bouncer and though he did well to survive, India's dependable No. 3 was dismissed in the same over by Hazlewood. Pujara, who had remained solid having faced 94 balls, once again received a peach of a delivery.

With the overnight partnership broken, Australia continued to build pressure. They were rewarded when captain Ajinkya Rahane nicked one to the third slip off Starc. Although India lost both their experienced batters, they managed to add 99 runs in the first session. Batting at No. 5 for the first time in the series, Mayank Agarwal came out with positive intent and kept rotating the strike with Rahane. Runs continued to flow for India even after Rahane's dismissal when Pant arrived in the middle.

However, Mayank got out off the second ball of the second session as he went for an expansive drive but only nicked it to Steve Smith in the slips. India lost their fifth wicket for 161 and lost Pant too in quick succession. The wicket-keeper batsman was looking comfortable, but he ended up guiding the short ball from Hazlewood straight to Green at gully. At this stage, India were in a real spot of bother. In came Shardul Thakur after Pant’s dismissal and went for a maximum to a short ball in the third delivery that he faced. Shardul and Sundar started to bat and rotate strike with a lot of ease and confidence. They batted well to get to a 50-run stand and converted into a brilliant 100-run partnership, highest 7th wicket partnership by an Indian pair at the Gabba.