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  • Writer's pictureSportFM

India fight despite Hazlewood five

Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood claimed his second five wicket haul of the series, but it was India's middle order pairing of Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur who stole the headlines on day three of the fourth and final Test at the Gabba, the duo both with half centuries to limit the home side's lead to only 33 runs.

Hazlewood was the star with 5-57 but lacked support as India wore down the Australian bowling line up, the last four wickets adding 150 runs to give the visitors a chance of not only drawing the series, but winning it.

After rain washed out the final session of day two India resumed at 2-62 with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane at the crease after Australia posted 369.

Hazlewood was able to extract an edge from the bat of Pujara, the right hander having looked as obstinate as ever in making 25 from 94 balls, Tim Paine with the catch behind the stumps.

Rahane looked to be the key again for India, reaching 37 despite some streaky shots before he drove once too often at Mitchell Starc, the catch snaffled at gully by Matthew Wade.

Mayank Agarwal was playing his shots, launching Nathan Lyon for a 102 metre six over long on having been recast as a middle order batsmen for the fourth Test in the absence of Hanuma Vihari.

Having reached 38 at lunch with Rishabh Pant for company Agarwal flashed at Hazlewood second ball after the interval, Steve Smith taking a sharp catch on the second attempt at second slip.

When Pant was well caught by Cameron Green at gully from the same bowler shortly after Australia were sensing a swift finish to the innings, India in trouble at 6-186.

Test debutant Washington Sundar and second Test fast bowler Shardul Thakur then combined for one of the defining partnerships of the match and perhaps the series, defying the Australian bowlers for more than two hours in adding 123.

Nathan Lyon and Mitch Starc continued to struggle to make an impact with the ball for Tim Paine's side, Starc leaking runs after the Tea break as first Thakur then Sundar reached half centuries.

Pat Cummins eventually snuck one through Thakur's defences after making a fine 67, Starc removing Sundar for 62 as the innings finally moved towards a conclusion.

Hazlewood completed his ninth five wicket haul when he bowled Mohammed Siraj for 13, but Australia's potential big first innings lead of the early afternoon had been whittled away to just 33 by the time the innings was wrapped up, India all out for 336.

With six overs to survive before stumps Australia's openers David Warner (20*) and Marcus Harris (1*) got through unscathed, although Warner appeared to re-aggravate his groin injury in diving for a quick single to get off the mark.

Australia's lead stands at 54 heading in to day four, needing a win to claim the series with India current holders of the Border-Gavaskar trophy, forecast rain likely to make their task even more difficult on days four and five.

IMAGE: The Bleacher Report.

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