4th Test: Pant, Pujara, Gill Lead India to Series Win vs Australia

During the chase of 328, India scored 325 runs on the final day, which the third highest ever in a winning cause.

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Cricket
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Team India after retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the Gabba in Brisbane.
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An attacking masterclass by Rishabh Pant put the icing on the cake in an absolutely special performance from India at the Gabba as they won the four-match series against Australia by 2-1, clinching the Brisbane Test by 3 wickets in thrilling fashion.

Pant drove Josh Hazlewood straight back past mid-off for four to seal the win. The win means India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and also win back to back Test series in Australia for the first time ever. This is also India’s first win ever at the Gabba, the venue of independent India’s first Test match in 1947.

Pant (89*), Cheteshwar Pujara (56) and Shubman Gill (91) scored half centuries in the fourth innings as India chased down 328 to hand Australia their first Test defeat at the Gabba since 1988.

A very bruised India came to the Gabba with an inexperienced bowling attack and showed great determination over five days to clinch the win and the series in the final hour of the contest at Brisbane. India handed debuts to two players at the Gabba while a third had limped off 10 deliveries into his first game in 2018.

The visitors started the final day of the Brisbane Test needing 324 runs to win the match. By the end of the first session, the target was down to 244 with just Rohit Sharma back in the dressing room.61

The opener was sent back within the first hour of play with Pat Cummins getting the big wicket. The Indian opener edged one to wicket-keeper Tim Paine after facing 21 deliveries and scoring 7 runs.

The team’s score was 18/1 when Cheteshwar Pujara walked out to bat alongside Shubman Gill and the pair saw out the first session and also batted for half the second when Gill was caught behind.

While Gill looked reasonably comfortable against the pace attack and played his shots, including a six over third man in the last over before lunch, Pujara took more than a few blows to his body and soldiered on. He also underwent a concussion test after being hit on the head by Cummins.

Gill along with Pujara added a solid 114 runs for the second wicket. The 21-year-old opener was batting on 91 when he edged one to Steve Smith at first slip and India lost their second wicket of the day.

Pujara was then joined by Rahane and they stitched together 45 runs for the third wicket before the captain edged one to Paine off Cummins for 24. India were 167/3 with Tea break round the corner.

RIshabh Pant walked in ahead of Mayank Agarwal after that and along with Pujara kept Australia at bay for the rest of the session. In the final session, India need 145 runs to win. India scored 100 runs for the loss of two wickets in the second session.

Once the final session of the riveting series rolled over, Pant took the attack to Nathan Lyon as Pujara went on to register his third fifty of the series. The duo added 61 runs for the fourth wicket and took India to within 100 runs of the target before Pat Cummins struck with the second new ball. Pujara trapped LBW by an in-swinger for 56 with India at 228/4.

Pant was joined by Mayank Agarwal after this and the opening batsman could not keep the southpaw company for too long as he was dismissed for 9. The duo put on 37 for the 5th wicket before he became Cummins’ fourth scalp.

Washington Sundar, one of the debutants and heroes of this Test, added a crucial 22 as India marched on towards the finish line with Pant leading the charge at the other end.

With 10 runs needed to win, Shardul Thakur joined Pant but was dismissed by Hazlewood soon after. Two deliveries later Pant drove Hazlewood through mid-off to the fence as India sealed a historic win.

The highest successful chase before this at Gabba came in 1951, when Australia finished 236/7, but India led by Ajinkya Rahane have rewritten the history books in style.

During the chase of 328, India scored 325 runs on the final day, which the third highest ever in a winning cause in Test cricket.

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