Sport Third Test: Aggressive Pant gives India’s chase life

Third Test: Aggressive Pant gives India’s chase life

Indian batsmen Cheteshwar Pujara (R) and Rishabh Pant walk off the field at the lunch break during day five of the third cricket Test. Photo: Getty
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Rishabh Pant has given India a reason to dream after the tourists went to lunch at 3-206 in pursuit of 407 on the final day of the third Test against Australia.

Still nursing an injured elbow, Pant has led the way for India and is unbeaten on 73 from just 97 balls, dominating a 104-run stand with Cheteshwar Pujara (41 not out).

If India were to pull off the victory it would mark the highest successful chase at the SCG, and third-highest anywhere in Test history.

After enduring one of the team’s toughest matches both on and off the field for four days, India at one stage looked likely to fold quickly.

Rohit Sharma went just before stumps on day four and captain Ajinkya Rahane fell at bat pad to Nathan Lyon in the second over of Monday.

But it was then that the Pant counterpunch began.

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Nathan Lyon celebrates with his team after taking the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane. Photo: Getty

The aggressive wicketkeeper-batsman has hit three sixes and eight other boundaries in his knock, regularly taking Lyon on down the ground.

At one stage Pant hit the tweaker for one big six inside out over cover, before clearing Pat Cummins and the rope at long on the next ball.

That was one of two Lyon overs that went for 13, with the spinner’s figures at 1-73, as well as another from Mitchell Starc (0-48).

Australia have, however, had their chances.

Tim Paine dropped Pant on three and 56, with both balls from Lyon taking the outside edge.

The odds are still firmly stacked in the hosts’ favour, with Ravindra Jadeja only set to bat if required due to a dislocated thumb.

At least 62 overs still remain in the day.

The series is locked at 1-1 with the fourth and final Test confirmed to go ahead at the Gabba from Friday.