India have been set a target of 328 to win the series-deciding fourth Test at the Gabba, which remains delicately poised after Australia were bowled out for 294 on a topsy-turvy fourth day.
Two dropped catches and a wagging tail helped the hosts push their lead beyond 300 on Monday, when one over was lost because of a brief downpour at tea.
The highest successful chase in a Gabba Test came in 1951, when Australia finished 7-236, but the hosts have fresher memories of how India incredibly salvaged a draw last week at the SCG.
Tim Paine’s team require a victory to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy but further showers are predicted for the final day of the series.
“I believe a drawn series here for Australia … it’s actually as bad as a loss,” Ricky Ponting said on the Seven Network.
India have 25 overs to bat on Monday, presuming rain stays away.
Speculation bubbled throughout Monday as to when Paine might declare but India, as they have at every juncture since being skittled for 36 en route to a heavy defeat in the first Test, fought back whenever Australia looked to be on top.
Mohammed Siraj finished with 5-73, the second best figures by any Indian fast bowler at the Gabba, after helping inflict a chaotic collapse of 4-34 in the morning session.
Siraj, who debuted at the MCG but is now spearheading India’s unheralded attack, put down two crucial chances after lunch.
The paceman was fielding on the rope when he reprieved Steve Smith on 42 then grassed a return catch offered by Cameron Green on 14.
Siraj produced a nasty delivery that reared off the pitch to dismiss Smith for 55, while the wickets of Green (37) and Paine (27) were also blows to Australia’s hopes of a flurry of boundaries.
Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood added 47 runs for the final two wickets.
David Warner (48) and Marcus Harris (38) enjoyed a productive start to the day, adding 40 runs during the first seven overs after Australia resumed at 0-21.
First-change bowlers Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur, who combined in a seventh-wicket stand of 123 runs that trimmed Australia’s first-innings lead to 33, built dot-ball pressure to ignite yet another momentum shift.
Thakur snapped the 89-run partnership between Warner and Harris – the highest opening stand that either side has managed during the four-Test series.
HIGHEST FOURTH INNINGS TOTALS AT THE GABBA
* Pakistan managed 450, chasing Australia’s 490-run target in 2016
* England made 360, chasing 648 to beat Australia in 2006
* India lost 5-45 to be bowled out for 355, chasing 395 in 1968.