Marnus Labuschagne's ton against an inexperienced bowling camp gave Australia a slender edge over India on Day 2 of the fourth and final Test at The Gabba. The Aussies ended the day at 274/5, with skipper Tim Paine and Cameron Green in the middle.
After electing to bat first, Australia were jolted with early blows in the form of openers David Warner and Marcus Harris. However, Labuschagne and Steve Smith steadied the innings by building a crucial partnership. Just when Australia were looking to take control of the game, debutant Washington Sundar got the big fish, Steve Smith. While Labuschagne scored 108, Smith and Matthew Wade ended up scoring 45 and 36 respectively.
After looking hapless in the first two sessions, India's inexperienced bowling unit made a comeback, with debutant T Natarajan getting rid of Labuschagne and Wade. However, India's affair with injuries continued as pacer Navdeep Saini was forced off the field due to groin pain.
Praising India's injury-plagued side, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar said that it will be the biggest series if Rahane's men are able to defeat Australia in the final Test.
"Just imagine if India wins the fourth Test with this team, it'll be the biggest series in Indian cricket history. Despite being bruised and battered with injuries, India have done a remarkable comeback against Australia. In the climax of the Test series, the Indian team is without many key players as they had not played international cricket since the pandemic.
Injuries were bound to happen because of conditions in Australia. Your muscles carry extra workload when you play under such conditions. Youngsters, who hadn't imagined in their wildest dreams that they would line up against Australia, are putting up impressive performances in overseas conditions.
"An injured Indian side trying to stop the onslaught. India is without their main strength, with Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane being the only two famous players in the squad" said Akhtar on his YouTube channel.
"Vihari, Pant, Ashwin, Rahane -- all have been fantastic against Australia. If India defeats Australia or pulls off a draw in Brisbane, they should be proud of themselves. When half of the team out because of injury, a lot will depend on how Rohit and Rahane bat at The Gabba. We all know how strong the Australian team is. It would be incredible if India manage to at least pull of a draw and level the series," Akhtar added.