Updates, analysis and colour from the fourth day of the fourth Test
Welcome to our live report of the third day of the Australia-India Test from Brisbane. Join us for updates, analysis and colour. You can find our traditional ball-by-ball commentary here
11.11am: Siraj joins the party
He’s bowled well in this game without too much success, but now Mohammed Siraj gets Labuschagne with a peach after coming on for a new spell. Angling into the corridor, just back of a length, making the batsman play, and getting it to straighten and take the edge to second slip. Important breakthrough, because Labuschagne was counterattacking dangerously till then, using his feet brilliantly against Sundar in both directions to try and put the offspinner off his lengths. He’s out for 25 off 22, and Australia are 123 for 3. They’re 156 ahead now.
Two balls later it’s 123 for 4, as Rishabh Pant dives to his right to snaffle Matthew Wade, who’s out strangling the ball down the leg side. Well, well.
10.50am: Sundar gets Warner
Excellent delivery, the one that goes with the angle from around the wicket, Kryptonite for left-handers in the DRS era. This one would have been given out even in the pre-DRS era, because David Warner didn’t get a stride forward at all, and was struck on the back leg, just inside the line of the stumps. He was trudging off disconsolately before deciding to review at the last moment; he needn’t have bothered. Natural variation has done the trick for Sundar again, and Australia are 91 for 2 with two new batsmen at the crease. Those two are Marnus Labuschagne and Steven Smith, and if India can get rid of either of them quickly…
10.42am: Thakur breaks through
It’s been a good spell, and Thakur has struck just as the first hour was about to end, getting Harris to glove a sharp bouncer to the keeper. He was looking to get under it, but didn’t manage to drop his hands out of the way in time. Australia are 89 for 1, and lead by 122.
10.35am: The weather
That’s Google searches for those terms over the last seven days. My own search tells me there’s a 92% chance of rain starting around 3pm today.
10.25am: The pitch
The ball has done a lot over the last few overs, with Shardul Thakur beating the left-handers’ bat frequently. He’s bowling from over the wicket, pitching within the line of the stumps, thus forcing the batsmen to play, and getting the ball to jag away from them appreciably. He was wayward in the first innings; today he’s bowled with control and looked incisive, hitting the high 130s consistently. At the other end, Washington Sundar has also found a good amount of turn. While all this will enthuse India, Australia are still without loss, and their bowlers will like what they’re seeing too. It’s 81 for 0.
10.00am: Australia race away
A couple of expensive overs from India, and Australia are suddenly 94 ahead with all ten wickets in the bank. Both new-ball bowlers have strayed in line and length, dropping short and wide and straying on the pads, and Marcus Harris has hit three fours in two overs. He’s even driving balls on the up through the covers now, and rapidly catching up with his opening partner both in terms of score and strike rate. Natarajan, who conceded 14 in the 12th over, has now given way to Shardul Thakur. Navdeep Saini is on the field, by the way, which is hugely encouraging news for India.
9.49am: It’s all happening at the Gabba
So far it’s been a morning to summon up Bill Lawry’s classic line. Mohammed Siraj has beaten David Warner a couple of times with seam movement from just short of a length, and got him to edge a similar delivery just beyond Rohit Sharma’s reach at second slip. T Natarajan has found Marcus Harris’ edge at the other end, only for the ball to fall short of the cordon. When the bowlers have erred slightly on the full side, both batsmen have picked up boundaries with sweetly timed straight drives. Australia are 39 for 0 in 11 overs.
9.15am: The fairytale of Sundar and Natarajan
That’s Sidharth Monga on the common sense running through a partnership that was in every other way the product of schoolboy cricketing dreams. We also have Deivarayan Muthu speaking to Washington Sundar’s sister – who’s also a cricketer – and his coach and delving into his early years; if you were surprised by his batting display yesterday, you really shouldn’t have been.
Looking at it from the Australian perspective, Dan Brettig suggests the Sundar-Thakur stand told of a bowling attack that showed the physical and mental fatigue of playing all four Tests, in a deviation from the rotation policy adopted during the 2019 Ashes.
9.00am: Clear weather… for the moment
Australia are 54 ahead at the Gabba, with two full days left to play and all ten wickets in hand. Ordinarily that would mean they’re in the driver’s seat, but we may not get two full days of play given the rough weather that’s expected in Brisbane today and tomorrow. The news for now, though, is that it’s sunny, so we should start on time, which is 9.30am local time.
Karthik Krishnaswamy is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo