Young Shubman Gill justified his inclusion in the playing XI with a composed half-century as India scored at a fair clip to reach 129 for one at lunch on the third day of the fourth Test against Australia, here Saturday, March 11, 2023.
India are still 351 runs behind Australia’s first innings score of 480.
India lost the wicket of their skipper Rohit Sharma (35 off 58 balls), who let slip a golden opportunity to get a big score on the best batting surface of the series.
Gill (65 batting, 119 balls) and Rohit added 74 runs for the opening wicket.
Sharma looked in good flow as he pulled a Mitchell Starc behind square for a six and ran well between the wickets during their 21-over stand.
The mode of dismissal was disappointing as the delivery from left-arm spinner Matt Kuhnemann (1/20) wasn’t a wicket-taking one.
It was pitched short and Sharma could have hit it anywhere but his uppish back-foot punch found Marnus Labuschagne, stationed at short extra-cover for that particular shot.
Gill didn’t have any issues tackling the Australian attack as he got a steady partner in Cheteshwar Pujara (22 batting), who showed more purpose at the crease during their unbroken stand of 55 runs.
The opener has hit five fours and a six while Pujara stepped out to smash off-spinner Todd Murphy through the covers for a boundary.
Towards the end of the session, there was one traditional off-break from Murphy that turned significantly to miss Gill’s bat, the bails as well as wicketkeeper Alex Carey’s gloves.
The pacers aren’t getting much help from the track and the short-ball tactic that both Starc and Cameron Green used didn’t pay much dividends.
The pitch is still on the slower side and pace off the track isn’t much to hurry the batters into playing their strokes.
There is all the time in the world to rock back to either play the cut or punch through the off-side or play the pull in-front or behind the square.
Gill scored his first 40 runs quickly but after that slowed a bit.