Fourth Test: Australia Sets 328 Target for India

New Delhi: Rain forced play to be abandoned early on day four of the fourth Test, with India to resume at 4/0 on Tuesday, chasing 328 on a deteriorating Gabba pitch.

Australia were bowled out for 294 in their second innings after skipper Tim Paine chose not to declare, with Rohit Sharma (4*) and Shubman Gill (0*) facing just 11 deliveries of the remaining 25 overs to be bowled on day four before rain set in. With India only requiring a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, an engrossing series – tied at 1-1 – is set for a fitting finale as Australia press for the win they need to claim the coveted prize.

An emotional five-for for Mohammed Siraj (5/73) was the highlight as the sides traded blows on Monday in yet another absorbing contest between the combatants.

David Warner and Marcus Harris resumed at 21/0 and quickly pushed Australia’s lead out to 122 runs after India were bowled out for 336 in reply to the home side’s first-innings total of 369.

But as they have done time and again this series, the undermanned tourists dug deep and hit back. Shardul Thakur (4/61) had Harris caught behind on 38 and the dismissal sparked a collapse that saw Australia lose 34/4 in seven overs approaching the lunch break.

Warner was next to go, trapped in front by Washington Sundar (1/80) on 48, and when Siraj struck twice in four balls, Australia were forced on the back foot with Marnus Labuschagne (25) and Matthew Wade (0) gone.

Paine’s men were 149/4 at lunch, but Steve Smith was able to lift the tempo after the restart, belting 55 from 74 balls before Siraj removed him with a brute of a delivery that reared off a length and was well caught by Ajinkya Rahane in the slips. Cameron Green never found rhythm on his way to 37 from 90 balls and was on his way when Sharma took his fifth catch of the Test, the most by an Indian player in a Brisbane Test.

The home side was 243/7, with a lead of 276, when tea was taken early as showers passed over The Gabba.

As conjecture swirled about a possible declaration, Paine sent Pat Cummins (28*) and Mitchell Starc (1) back out after the break as he searched for a larger buffer.

An emotional Siraj, whose father passed away in November, gestured to the sky after Thakur caught Josh Hazlewood (9) in the deep to end Australia’s second innings and seal the first five-wicket haul of his career.

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