India’s Gill stands firm at lunch on decisive day at the Gabba

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Brisbane (Australia) (AFP)

Shubman Gill struck a stylish unbeaten 64 before lunch on the final day of the decisive fourth Test on Tuesday to keep India on course for the draw they need to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

India were 83 for one at the break chasing 328 to win the series against Australia or, more likely, needing to bat out the final two sessions for a draw at the Gabba.

Gill’s 64 came off 117 balls and included five boundaries and an audacious six over third man in the final over before the break.

Cheteshwar Pujara was alongside Gill on eight on the final day of a fascinating Test match.

India started the morning on four for no loss after bowling Australia out for 294 just before rain stopped play late on the fourth day.

Australia’s hopes of series-clinching victory were raised early when pace spearhead Pat Cummins drew Rohit Sharma forward to a ball that caught the outside edge, Tim Paine taking a fine diving catch in front of first slip.

But Gill looked untroubled against the Australian attack as he and Pujara put on 65 runs for the second wicket and raised hopes of India achieving a historic victory.

Pujara was given a torrid workover by Cummins, who twice hit him on the back of the helmet during a short-ball barrage.

The highest run chase to achieve victory at the Gabba is the 236 that Australia scored to beat the West Indies in 1951.

But as India have shown since their disastrous capitulation in the first Test in Adelaide, when they were bowled out for 36, they are never out of the contest.

The four-Test series is tied at 1-1 with Australia winning the opening Test in Adelaide and India fighting back to claim the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and batting through the final day in Sydney to secure a draw.

Their effort in the fourth Test is even more admirable considering the high injury toll on tour.

Their bowling attack was led by Mohammad Siraj, who debuted in Melbourne, supported by Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, T. Natarajan and Washington Sundar, who had two Tests between them heading into Brisbane.

They were also missing captain Virat Kohli, who went home after the first Test to be with his wife for the birth of his first child.

The tourists are without the services of front-line seamers Ishant Sharma, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Japrit Bumrah and regular spin bowlers Ravi Jadeja and Ravi Ashwin.

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