India are refusing to buckle in their series-deciding fourth Test against Australia at the Gabba, where unheralded allrounder Washington Sundar marched his side to 6-253 at tea on day three.
Debutant Sundar (38 not out) and Shardul Thakur (33 not out) have fought hard and fluently, reducing Australia’s lead to 116 runs.
Tim Paine’s team are locked in a race against the clock in Brisbane, where they must win the series finale to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Wet weather, which washed out Saturday’s final session and is set to interrupt days four and five, has added another degree of urgency to the scenario.
The hosts prised out Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, India’s two best batsmen but also the only tourists to play both the first and final Tests of an injury-marred series, in Sunday’s morning session.
Josh Hazlewood removed Mayank Agarwal, with the second delivery after lunch, and danger man Rishabh Pant to reduce India to 6-186.
But momentum shifted yet again in the topsy-turvy series as Sundar and Thakur, who is playing his second Test, shared an unbeaten 67-run stand.
Australia had seven overs with the second new ball late in Sunday’s post-lunch session but still failed to conjure a breakthrough.
It is already India’s highest seventh-wicket partnership since Pant and Ravindra Jadeja combined for 204 runs at the SCG in 2019.
It is also India’s highest seventh-wicket stand at the Gabba.
Thakur had a nervous moment on 12, when Cameron Green raced after a skied edge and couldn’t quite get to the ball, while he collided with Josh Hazlewood after taking off for a single.
The 29-year-old also required treatment after a nasty blow to the gloves in the shadows of tea.
Otherwise it was a composed act of pressure-laden defiance, starting when Thakur got off the mark by hooking a bouncer from Pat Cummins for six.
Sundar, using one of Pant’s bats, was also thoroughly impressive.
Hazlewood has been the pick of Australia’s bowlers, snaring 3-43 from 21 overs.
He worked Pujara over in his second over of the day, culminating in a superb delivery that kissed the outside edge and sailed to wicketkeeper Paine.