Debutants Washington Sundar and Thangarasu Natarajan picked three wickets each as a rookie bowling line-up of India dismissed Australia for 369, bringing a lower-middle-order collapse on the second day of the fourth Test in Brisbane on Saturday (January 16).
Shardul Thakur (3/94) too picked three wickets. Sundar (3/89) and Natarajan (3/78) got the breakthroughs during the morning session to knock over five wickets for 95 runs.
For a bowling attack as thin on experience as India, the effort in adverse times can only be commended. India lost five main bowlers through the three Test matches and were forced to hand Test debuts to Natarajan and Sundar.
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Nathan Lyon (24 off 22 balls) and Mitchell Starc (20 off 35 balls) counter-attacked the inexperienced Indian attack with a brisk 39-run partnership to take Australia past 350-run mark. Going by statistics, Australia have never lost a Test match at the Gabba after scoring 350 in the first innings.
Resuming at 274 for five, Tim Paine (50) and Cameron Green (47) extended their stand to 98 before the home team encountered a mini-collapse. Thakur bowled a fuller delivery that shaped away and Paine’s lazy drive without going to the pitch of the delivery saw Rohit Sharma take a regulation catch at the second slip.
Paine was just getting into the groove with some good drives when Thakur provided the breakthrough. With the partnership broken, Green probably lost his concentration as he played for the turn to an angle delivery from Sundar which straightened after pitching and breached through his defences.
Pat Cummins (2) was adjudged leg before as he yorked himself to a fuller delivery from Thakur as Australia slumped from 311 for five to 315 for eight.
However, Starc and Lyon, playing his 100th Test match, started throwing their bats and Thakur, getting a touch greedy started bowling short which wasn’t as ineffective as it would be for bowlers with pace above 140 clicks. It was Sundar, who bowled Lyon round his legs to get his third scalp and Natarajan finished it off by knocking Josh Hazlewood’s off-stump.
(With inputs from agencies)