India vs Australia 4th Test: Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill heroics help India breach Gabba fortress after 32 years


Rishabh Pant dictated the proceedings on Day 5 of the fourth and final Test against Australia in Brisbane as the young wicketkeeper played an unbeaten knock of 89 runs from 138 balls to help his side secure a famous three-wicket win. India completed the stiff 328-run chase with Pant hitting Josh Hazlewood for a crunching four towards the long-on region and Navdeep Saini enjoying the sight from the other end. With this win, Ajinkya Rahane-led Indian unit also secured the Border Gavaskar Trophy and won the four-match series 2-1.   

Pant came out to bat late in the second session, with the visitors still requiring 161 more to win the contest. However, soon after his arrival, the 23-year-old made his intentions clear as he ripped apart the Australian bowling attack led by Pat Cummins.

The 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman was picked player of the match for his brilliant knock, who termed the innings as the “biggest day of his life.”

“This is one of the biggest days of my life. The support the team has given me even when I was not playing has been incredible. It’s a dream come true. We’ve been practicing hard since the first Test. The team management always backs me and tells me you are a match-winner and you have to go out there and win and I am happy I did it today. It was a fifth-day pitch and the ball was turning,”Pant said right after the match.  

Pant, who emerged as the game-changer, didn’t hesitate to take charge against the spin and was occasionally seen stepping out of his crease to counter-attack Nathan Lyon. He maintained a similar attitude against the seamers, yet there was no hint of over attacking. 

This was the second instance in the series, when the wicketkeeper changed the momentum of the game, shifting the odds into India’s favour. In the previous encounter in Sydney, the 23-year-old had played a similar knock but was unable to take India home. However, a valiant display by R Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari had then helped India salvage a brilliant draw. 

Openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill kicked-off the action on Day 5, resuming from the overnight score of 4/0. However, Rohit failed to last long as he was soon removed by Pat Cummins on 18. What followed next laid the foundation for India’s famous win as Gill along with Cheteshwar Pujara added 114 runs for the second wicket. 

Cummins along with Mitchell Starc and Hazlewood tried to disrupt Pujara’s composure by bowling a barrage of bouncers as India’s Test specialist remained firm in the middle. He found great support from young Gill, who went on to score 91 from 146 balls, before being removed by Lyon. 

After his dismissal, skipper Ajinkya Rahane came out in the middle and made the team’s intention clear. The right-handed batsman scored a brisk 24 from 22 balls before falling to Cummins, moments before the Tea. 

Pujara was the fourth man to depart as he was trapped leg-before by Cummins, making him his second victim of the day. Mayank Agarwal too failed to resist the sheer pace of Cummins and just when the visitors seemed in trouble, Washington Sundar stitched a crucial 53-run partnership with Pant for the sixth wicket.  

Lyon bowled Sundar on 22 but by that time India were already cruising towards an epic victory. Shardul Thakur, who scored a half-century in the previous innings, also lost his wicket to Hazlewood but Pant made sure that he takes India home this time. 

Among the Australian bowlers, Cummins emerged as most lethal ending the innings with four wickets. Lyon, who was playing his 100th Test, scalped two while Hazlewood returned with one.

Brief Scores: Australia 369 and 294 | India 326 and 329/7 in 97 overs (S Gill 91, R Pant 89 not out, C Pujara 56; Pat Cummins 4/55)  

 

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