India vs Australia 4th Test: How Ajinkya Rahane’s boys turned the tide at Gabba


India became one of the rare teams to post back-to-back Test series wins on Australian soil after completing a 2-1 series win with a remarkable three-wicket win at the Gabba. India chased down 328 to win on the final day on a wearing fifth day pitch to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

We take a look at some of the moments which turned the game around in favour of India in the fourth and deciding Test at the Gabba.

1. Washington Sundar-Shardul Thakur tango

India were reeling at 186/6 in their first innings after Australia had posted 369 in their first innings. No one would have faulted the side from capitulating considering the fact that the Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli were all missing the match.

But debutant Washington Sundar and one-match-old Shardul Thakur put on a remarkable 123 runs for the seventh wicket to instill new belief in the Indian outfit. Mumbai paceman Thakur top-scored for the side with 67 while Sundar went on to score 62 as India managed to restrict the first-innings deficit to just 33.

Interestingly, the first-innings deficit in Adelaide back in 2001-02 series was also 33 when Ajit Agarkar’s six-wicket haul and Rahul Dravid’s double hundred scripted a famous win.

2. Siraj-Thakur restrict Australia

India was fielding a second string, in fact third string bowling attack due to a plethora of injuries. The likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma were all laid low by different injuries.

Australia looked set to post a massive target for India after David Warner and Marcus Harris had put on 89 runs for the first wicket. But Mohammed Siraj, just two Tests old, rose to the occassion for India and claimed his maiden five-wicket haul.

Thakur added to his haul of three wickets in the first innings and 67 with the bat also picked up 4/61 to bundle out Australia for 294 and give India 328-run target.

3. Gill and Pujara calm the nerves

Australia were the odds-on favourite to win the Test on the wearing and two-paced fifth day pitch especially after sending back opener and Indian vice-captain Rohit Sharma back early. But 21-year-old Shubman Gill combined with the ‘rock’ Cheteshwar Pujara to put on 114 runs for the second wicket to turn the tide in India’s favour. Gill took the attack to the Australian bowlers after lunch, taking Mitchell Starc apart as the Australian talisman leaked 20 runs in an over.

Gill was finally dismissed for a brilliant 91 but Pujara was rock solid in the middle.

4. Pujara’s all-important crawl

Criticised for his strike-rate through the series, Pujara took blows on his body, fingers and helmet but didn’t flinch one bit as he posted his slowest but one of the most important fifties in the game — off 196 balls.

India No. 3’s dour innings took the sting out of the Australian attack as Pat Cummins & Co struggled on a sappy Brisbane day.

5. Pant’s finishing touch

With Pujara dropping anchor at one end, Rishabh Pant was promoted to No. 5 position to carry on India’s chase as they decided to go for a famous win. Pant took his time to get eye in, scoring a fifty off 100 balls.

But once the game entered the last hour of play, Pant opened out in the company of Washington Sundar with the duo putting up 53-run stand for the sixth wicket. Pant remained unbeaten on 89 off 138 balls to cap off a brilliant run chase after his equally phenomenal 97 in the third Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

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Sagar Biswas

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