The batters continued to dominate on day
three of the fourth and final test between India and Australia in Ahmedabad on
a pitch that showed no signs of breaking down. Shubman Gill led the charge for
India and shared half-century stands with Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, and
Virat Kohli on his way to an elegant 128. Kohli also ended the day on 58*,
taking the hosts to 289 for three at stumps in response to Australia’s first
innings score of 480.
While runs were hard to come by for most of
the day, the new ball presented an opportunity for the Indian openers to score
quickly in the opening hour. Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill took on the lone
Australian pacer, Mitchell Starc, with the skipper pulling the left-armer for
six over deep fine leg and the youngster crunching him through the covers.
However, the runs dried up as spin was
introduced from both ends, and Rohit Sharma lost his wicket while trying to
release some pressure, the opener chipping Kuhnemann to the fielder at short
extra cover. Gill continued his charge after Sharma’s departure for 35,
bringing up his half-century with another punched drive against Starc.
India added 93 runs in the first session of
the day, but struggled to score at the same clip after Lunch as Australia
resorted to defensive tactics and disciplined lines. After 16 overs without a
boundary, Shubman Gill flipped the gears with a couple of fours against Cameron
Green through the covers. Gill also lofted Nathan Lyon down the ground and
eventually got to his second Test century on the stroke of Tea with a sweep
against Todd Murphy.
Cheteshwar Pujara paid good company to Gill
throughout their 113-run stand, but couldn’t convert his start into a big score
as he played down the wrong line against Todd Murphy and was caught lbw before
Pujara’s wicket brought Virat Kohli to the
crease, and after a few nervy moments to start with, the number four extended
India’s momentum alongside Gill. Kohli ran the singles to ensure the scoreboard
kept moving in the final session and took centre stage after Gill departed for
128, falling to a sharp off-break from Nathan Lyon.
Australia delayed their decision to take
the second new ball, opting to test Kohli and Jadeja’s defences against spin to
little avail. The right-hander brought up his 29th fifty late in the day, while
Jadeja remained resolute in defence to help the hosts cut down Australia’s lead
to 191 runs by stumps.