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Gabba fortress breached, battles and match won, bruises overcome, and a historic come-from-behind Test series triumph achieved to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy!
Team India edged out Australia by three wickets in the fourth and final Test of the series and completed a stunning series win in Brisbane on Tuesday.
While young guns Shubman Gill (91) and Rishabh Pant (89) were the top run-getters in the second innings for India, Cheteshwar Pujara put his body on the line to score a dogged 56 and Ajinkya Rahane and Washington Sundar chipped in with 24 and 22 respectively to take the team across the finish line at the Gabba.
Earlier, the day had begun on a shaky note for India with vice-captain Rohit Sharma getting out cheaply. Having made two fifties in a row, Rohit suffered a rare low score but a lot of it was thanks to the peach of a delivery from Cummins. The fast bowler got the ball to angle in before moving away, getting an outside edge.
However, Gill looked comfortable in the middle and he kept the scoreboard ticking in the company of Pujara. The visitors peppered the Indian No.3 with the short ball and he was even hit on the helmet once. But, Pujara remained defiant and batted in the same fashion against Lyon, who never looked to trouble him.
Gill, on the other hand, gave enough evidence of his elegant batting. The opening batsman was in complete control and brought up his second half-century, raising India’s hopes. The two ensured that the visitors went into lunch at 83-1. The first session saw India add 79 runs in 36.1 overs.
Gill put up a scintillating show in the second session and it was here that India switched gears. Both the batsmen went into an attacking mode. Gill took on Starc and began by hitting him for a six and followed it up with two authoritative fours while Pujara creamed one as the fast bowler conceded 20 runs in an over, the most he has ever done in Test cricket.
India needed Pujara to bat long and that is what he did despite getting hit several times on his hand, elbow and even helmet. Just when the partnership was looking to take the game away, Gill got out 91 when Lyon induced an outside edge. Gill and Pujara shared a 114-run stand for the second wicket.
Rahane replaced Gill in the middle and he and Pujara, who despite being hit on the fingers and helmet, added a quick 35 runs before Rahane, after scoring 24 off 22 balls, got out off Cummins’ bowling. Pant, who completed 1000 Test runs, and Pujara then took India to 183/3 at tea.
After a couple of quiet overs earlier in the final session of the day, Australia had a chance to get the wicket of Pant. But, an extra bounce on the Lyon delivery beat Paine’s gloves and Pant got a life. The Indian wicketkeeper clubbed a six off Lyon in his next over and followed it up with a four off Starc in the next over before Pujara brought a gritty half-century in 196 balls and the duo completed a fifty-run stand.
Australia took the second new ball as soon as it was available and Cummins, with India still needing 100 runs to win, got Pujara out LBW for 56 to break the 61-run partnership.
Pant then completed his second fifty of the series as he and Mayank Agarwal added 37 runs together before the right-hander was caught at the short cover by Matthew Wade as Cummins picked his fourth wicket of the innings.
While Australia were looking for a couple of quick wickets, Washington Sundar, who had scored a fighting 62 in the first innings, stayed put, played some well-timed strokes and scored 22 as he and Pant pushed India closer to the victory.
Although Nathan Lyon managed to dismiss Washington Sundar and break the 53-run partnership and Josh Hazlewood had Shardul Thakur’s wicket, Pant, hit the winning runs to seal India’s brilliant win.
Brief Scores: India 336 all out and 329/7 (Shubman Gill 91, Rishabh Pant 89*; Pat Cummins 4/55) beat Australia 369 & 294 all out (Steve Smith 55, David Warner 48; Mohammed Siraj 5/73) by three wickets