India rallies to 253-6 at tea, day 3 of 4th test v Australia

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Josh Hazlewood struck twice early in the session but India’s lower middle order rallied to frustrate the Australian attack and reach 253-6 at tea on day three of the series-deciding cricket test at the Gabba.

Hazlewood struck with the second ball after lunch to remove Mayank Agarwal and, six overs later, he had Rishabh Pant spectacularly caught at gully by Cameron Green.

With India’s innings teetering Washington Sundar (38 not out) and Shardul Thakur (33 not out) combined for a valuable 67-run partnership to close the deficit to 116 runs at the interval.

Hazlewood had figures of 3-43 from 21 overs to lead the Australian attack.

Earlier, India added 99 runs for the loss of Cheteshwar Pujara and captain Ajinkya Rahane in Sunday’s first session after resuming Sunday at 62-2 in reply to Australia’s first innings of 369.

Hazlewood made the first breakthrough of the day by removing Pujara for 25 off 94 balls. The seamer teased the 90-test veteran forward to a good length ball which found the edge and carried through to wicketkeeper Tim Paine with India at 105-3 after 39 overs.

Rahane mixed some elegant strokes with some expansive shots outside off stump and his luck finally ran out on 37 when he edged a Mitchell Starc delivery to Matt Wade at third slip.

Agarwal (38) appeared the most comfortable of the batsmen in the morning session but lasted just two balls after lunch as he edged Hazlewood into the slips, where Steve Smith took the sharp chance at the second attempt.

Pant then lashed at a cut shot that went hard to Green in the gully, reducing India to a precarious 186-6 and opening the door for Australia to bowl at the iexperienced lower order.

But Sundar, in his first test, and Thakur, in his second, counter-attacked over the the next 20.3 overs to settle the innings.

On Saturday, Pat Cummins took the first wicket for Australia with his second ball of the match, with Shubman Gill (7) fending forward and edging to Smith at second slip.

Nathan Lyon, playing his 100th test, then dismissed Rohit Sharma for 44 shortly before tea. The veteran off-spinner tempted the India opener into taking on a big shot which he miscued and skied a catch into the outfield to Starc.

Heavy rain at the break ultimately led to the umpires calling off play for the entire evening session.

The series is tied 1-1 and India needs only a draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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