Fri, 26 Feb 2021

Brisbane [Australia], January 19 (ANI): Shubman Gill fell nine runs short of his maiden Test hundred, skipper Ajinkya Rahane departed after a brisk 24 but Cheteshwar Pujara endured blows to the body and fought on with Rishabh Pant for company to keep India in the hunt to register back-to-back series wins on Australian soil at The Gabba on Tuesday.

Surviving the fiery spells of the Australian pace attack was the biggest highlight of the session. Pujara was hit not once but twice on the helmet on the fifth day but the warrior batsman stood tall like a rock.

At the tea break, India's score reads 183/3, still needing 145 runs to seal the tantalising poised match. Pujara and Pant are currently unbeaten on 43 and 10 runs respectively. While the session saw India score 100 runs from 25 overs, the hosts picked two important wickets.

Starting the session with the game evenly poised, Gill and Pujara added 49 runs in the second session before the opener fell short of what would have been a sensational hundred.

Gill had taken on the Australian bowlers smashing 20 runs off a Mitchell Starc over, hitting three consecutive boundaries but Nathan Lyon got the big breakthrough. Pujara got his first boundary off the 103rd ball he's faced in the innings.

Rahane's stroke play clearly indicated that India is not looking for a draw but the skipper departed after making a quick 24 off 22 balls. In what was not a surprising move, Pant was sent ahead of Mayank Agarwal with India requiring 161 runs to win the match.

Pant became the fastest Indian wicket-keeper to 1000 Test runs when he hit the first runs of the bat on the fifth day of the series decider.

Resuming the day from 4/0, Indian suffered an early blow as Rohit Sharma (7) was dismissed by Pat Cummins in the ninth over. Opener Gill was then joined by Pujara on the field.

The duo played defensively and slow-paced innings. Gill looked in no trouble facing the hosts' dangerous bowling attack and went on to complete his half-century before the lunch.

On Monday, Australia was bundled out for 294, setting a target of 328 in front of India. For the visitors, Mohammad Siraj scalped five wickets in the second innings while Steve Smith top-scored for the hosts.

Brief scores: India 336 and 183/3 (Shubman Gill 91, Cheteshwar Pujara 43; Pat Cummins 2-22) Australia 369 and 294 (Steven Smith 55; Mohammed Siraj 5/73) (ANI)

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