Team India have been set an improbable target of 407 runs to win the SCG Test after their batting crumbled in the first innings due to a combination of some excellent Australian bowling and poor tactics from the visitors.
Rishabh Pant and Cheteswar Pujara, however, raised Team India’s hopes of an unlikely victory. The duo featured in a century stand for the fourth wicket on a surface that is still pretty good to bat on.
Rishabh Pant, who did not wicket-keep after getting hurt while batting in the first innings, came in with a positive intent. Cheteshwar Pujara, on the other hand, stuck to his tried and tested method of holding one end up.
After Team India lost skipper Ajinkya Rahane early, Rishabh Pant and Cheteswar Pujara joined hands to lift the visitors from 102 for 3 to 206 at lunch.
The attacking wicket-keeper batsman went into the break on 73, while Cheteshwar Pujara completed his half-century in the second session. The right-handed batsman also crossed the 6000-run mark in Test matches.
Rishabh Pant eventually fell three short of a hundred, trying to hit Nathan Lyon. Although Cheteshwar Pujara is still going strong at the time of filing this report, Team India have a mountain to climb as far as chasing down 407 is concerned.
Team India’s highest successful chase in Australia is 230
The highest Team India have scored to win a Test in Australia is 230. This came during the famous Adelaide encounter back in 2003-04.
Rahul Dravid was the architect of that triumph with knocks of 233 (from 446 balls) in the first innings and a unbeaten 72 off 170 in the second as India reached the target with four wickets in hand.
Medium pacer Ajit Agarkar was the unsung hero of India’s famous triumph with 6 for 41 in Australia’s second innings as the hosts were bowled out for 196.
Apart from Dravid’s brilliance, VVS Laxman also chipped in with two crucial knocks - 148 and 32 - as India created history.
Not only was this India’s highest successful chase in Australia, but it was also their first Test triumph Down Under in 22 years.
Trivia: India’s highest score in the fourth innings in Australia is 445 at Adelaide in 1978. It came in a losing cause as India were set a target of 493 to win the match.Published 11 Jan 2021, 09:09 IST