Brisbane: A brilliant batting partnership between Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar on Sunday made sure India remained in the game after the end of Day Three of the fourth and final Test against Australia at The Gabba.
Thakur and Sundar shared a 123-run partnership for the seventh wicket which helped India concede a lead of just 33, which at one stage looked like to be in excess of 150.
India got bundled out for 336 in their first innings, riding on brilliant, maiden half centuries from the two young bowlers.
Australia, who had scored 369 in their first innings, then ended the day reaching 21/0 in their second innings. Openers David Warner and Marcus Harris remained unbeaten on 20 and 1 respectively, helping Australia swell their lead to 54.
Earlier, Resuming the day at 61/2, India lost Cheteshwar Pujara and skipper Ajinkya Rahane in the morning session. Pujara was the first to go as he edged one to wicketkeeper Tim Paine off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood for 25 with the team's score on 105.
Rahane followed, edging one to fourth slip off Mitchell Starc for 37 with the team score on 144.
Mayank Agarwal and Rishabh Pant added 17 more runs before Agarwal got out at team's score of 161. Agarwal scored 38 runs, with the help of three fours and a six, in the 75 balls he faced during the course of his innings.
Pant (23) then shared a 25-run partnership with Sundar before he became the third scalp of Hazlewood who had the India wicketkeeper-batsman caught at gully by Cameron Green.
It was then that Thakur and Sundar stitched together the highest seventh-wicket partnership for India at The Gabba and brought the visitors right into the match. Both batted with great grit and determination as they didn't allow Australia to take any further wickets and also made sure that the runs kept coming for India at a decent rate.
Thakur scored 67 runs, with the help of nine boundaries and two sixes during the course of his innings, before he got out bowled by Pat Cummins in the final session. Sundar then registered the highest individual score for a debutant batting at number seven in Australia as he scored valuable 62 runs before getting out caught at gully.
Kapil Dev and Manoj Prabhakar had earlier held the record of the highest seventh-wicket partnership for India in Brisbane, scoring 58 runs in 1991.
"Outstanding application and belief by Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur. This is what Test cricket is all about. Washy top composure on debut and tula parat maanla re Thakur," tweeted regular skipper Virat Kohli while praising the duo.
Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini and debutant T Natajan then contributed with 13, five and 1 respectively as India got all out for 336.
For Australia, Hazlewood was the pick of the bowlers as he scalped five wickets while conceding 57 runs. Cummins and Starc picked two wickets each while off-spinner Nathan Lyon, playing his 100th Test, scalped one wicket.
Australia then batted for five overs before the Stumps as they swelled their lead to over 50 with two days play still remaining in the match.
Brief scores: Australia 21/0 (David Warner 20*, Marcus Harris 1*, Washington Sundar 0/3) & 369 all out; India 336 all out (Shardul Thakur 67, Washington Sundar 62; Josh Hazlewood 5/57)