Pant (89*) steers India to stunning win to retain Border-Gavaskar Trophy
Rishabh Pant made an unbeaten 89 as India chased down 328 to stun Australia on day five of the fourth Test in Brisbane to win the series 2-1.
The win marks a remarkable turnaround for India, who were bowled out for 36 as they lost the first Test in Adelaide, after which captain Virat Kohli departed to be at the birth of his first child.
Injuries have also blighted the tourists throughout the tour but they levelled the four-match series in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG before a holding out for a draw in Sydney.
However, heading into the final day of the series, they needed a further 324 to win and the expectation was that India would again be trying to bat the overs and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a draw.
Instead, led by Shubman Gill’s 91, a battling half-century from Cheteshwar Pujara (56) and Pant’s entertaining knock, Ajinkya Rahane’s team took the positive option, took on the chance of claiming the highest successful Test run-chase at Brisbane and claimed a three-wicket win late in the evening session, inflicting Australia’s first Test defeat at the Gabba since 1988.
On the final day of a pulsating Test series where each match has produced drama of the highest order, there was one huge finale saved by the visitors for the conclusion of a gruelling tour.
Pat Cummins dismissed Rohit Sharma cheaply on his way to 4-55, but it brought Pujara to the crease and he was not prepared to give his wicket away without a fight.
Together with opener Gill, the pair put on 114 for the second wicket before Gill fell nine short of a century.
Nathan Lyon ended his enterprising innings, which included eight fours and two sixes, and when stand-in skipper Rahane was caught behind for 24, the Indians could have been forgiven for shutting up shop.
Wicketkeeper Pant had other ideas and, after Cummins pinned Pujara in front for 56 to bring his 211-ball vigil to a conclusion, the 23-year-old continued to play with bravery.
Debutant Washington Sundar added a breezy 22 and helped take 11 off Cummins to kick start India into action with time running out.
It made the equation 39 off 42 and Pant moved into Twenty20 mode when he hit back-to-back fours off Lyon.
While Washington and Shardul Thakur departed in a dramatic finale, a drive by Pant to the boundary off Josh Hazlewood sealed a three-wicket victory for India and left Australia stunned. (Skysports)