Australia is poised for a breakthrough at the Gabba after prising out openers Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane and then pounding India to be 6-253 at tea in the series-deciding fourth Test.
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.
India trailed by 208 runs in their first innings at Sunday’s meal break, with Mayank Agarwal (38 not out) and Rishabh Pant (four not out) at the crease.
Pujara and Rahane, India’s two best batsmen but also the only tourists to play both the first and final Tests of what had been an injury-marred series, were yet again the key scalps.
And, yet again, both batsmen provided stubborn resistance.
Pujara resumed on eight, with his side 2-62, and negotiated Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc’s opening spells with minimal fuss.
But Josh Hazlewood worked Pujara over in impressive fashion during his second over of the day, culminating in a superb delivery that kissed the outside edge and sailed to wicketkeeper Paine.
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Rahane edged two balls between gully and third slip during Starc’s first spell of the day.
It was a case of third time lucky when Starc returned to the attack, only Matthew Wade had shuffled across from third slip and was able to easily take the catch to remove India’s captain for 37.
“Brilliant bowling, brilliant captaincy,” Ricky Ponting said on Seven.
Agarwal, who overcame a hand injury to be recalled as one of four enforced changes, clattered a six off Nathan Lyon as he sought to put the pressure back on Australia.
Then Hazlewood struck again, claiming the scalp of Agarwal, who was caught by Smith with a juggling two-bite catch for 38.
Paine has already burned a review, opting to refer Cummins’ caught-behind shout when Agarwal was on 12.
Replays showed the ball clearly came off the batsman’s thigh.