Following India's resilient show in the third Test, legendary opener Sunil Gavaskar has backed the Ajinkya Rahane-led side to defy the odds at the Gabba and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Hosts India put up a memorable batting show in Sydney on Monday, batting 131 overs in their second innings to save the third Test and keep the four-match series alive.
India had a poor start on the final day of the Sydney Test after Rahane was shown the exit door early. However, Cheteshwar Pujara notched up a steady 77-run knock off 205 deliveries while Rishabh Pant scored a quick-fire 97 which included 12 fours and 3 sixes.
After Pujara and Pant's exit, Hanuma Vihari and Ravi Ashwin came to the rescue. Vihari and Ashwin faced 289 deliveries and stitched a 62-run stand for the sixth wicket to pull off a memorable draw. Withstanding the Aussie bowling unit, Pant, Pujara, Vihari and Ashwin combined to face 612 balls as India only lost three wickets on the final day. India ended up scoring 334/5 when both the sides settled for a draw with an over left.
While the Indian camp is currently battling with injuries to several players including all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, Gavaskar feels that India is going to win the fourth and final Test in Brisbane.
"I predicted before the series started here on Australian television that India is going to win 2-1. At the moment the series is 1-1. Yes, I know Gabba is Australia's fortress. But India, in Bumrah, Saini and Siraj, have the ability to take on the Australians.
"That is their fortress, they have not lost there. But there is always a first time. If Ajinkya Rahane and company do it, I won't be surprised at all," Gavaskar told India Today.
In regular skipper Virat Kohli's absence, it will be a phenomenal achievement for the Indian team, according to Gavaskar. Apart from Kohli's truancy, the team management is also fighting to find a perfect playing XI, especially when the side has been marred by injuries in the ongoing tour.
"Apart from Smith and Labuschagne, the other batsmen haven't got too many runs. Yes, Cameron Green got runs towards the end and Tim Paine was also looking good. But the Indians were not looking to try and take wickets, they were trying to delay the declaration. So the Australian batting is vulnerable. Anything can happen.
"It will probably be the best win because this is a very good Australian attack. With Smith and Labuschagne getting runs, it's not been easy. So yes, winning this series will be a tremendous achievement and will rank as one of India's best overseas wins," Gavaskar added.
The fourth Test between Australia and India is scheduled to start from January 15th at the Gabba, with the hosts boasting a 28-match unbeaten streak at the venue.