Ahmedabad, March 11 (IANS) Opener Shubman Gill looked in sublime touch to slam an unbeaten 65 off 119 balls as India reached 129/2 in 37 overs at lunch on day three in the fourth Test against Australia on Saturday.
In a session where Australia’s bowlers rarely looked threatening, Gill drove, pulled and slashed his way to reaching a half-century. While he was patient against spinners, he fully cashed on the pace from an expensive Mitchell Starc. Giving him company at the crease is Cheteshwar Pujara, who is looking in excellent touch in his 22 not out off 46 balls.
The session began with Gill unleashing a lovely cover-drive for four against Mitchell Starc. With Starc pitching short, Gill got a glove edge on the pull and evaded the keeper to get another boundary in the 13th over.
Rohit Sharma then joined the party to take runs off Starc — a swivelled four was followed by another trademark pull over long leg for six. With Australia bringing in Matthew Kuhnemann and Nathan Lyon at both ends, the visitors’ managed to get control as the odd ball did some interesting things.
After losing a review against Gill, Australia finally had a breakthrough when Kuhnemann dropped short and Rohit, shaping for an uppish backfoot punch, send the ball straight to short extra cover in the 21st over.
With Cheteshwar Pujara showing the intent to score runs from the word go, Gill got his fifty in 90 balls with a backfoot punch through cover off Starc. When Starc came back in his next over, Gill was quick to produce his trademark short-arm jab to send the short ball through mid-wicket for four.
Pujara used his feet very well and it was illustrated when he danced down the pitch to drive an overpitched Todd Murphy delivery through extra cover. Murphy produced an interesting moment when he got one to run through the gate from the footmarks but it missed the stumps, eluding batter as well as keeper.
Brief Scores: Australia 480 in 167.2 overs (Usman Khawaja 180, Cameron Green 114; Ravichandran Ashwin 6/91, Mohammed Shami 2/134) lead India 129/1 in 37 overs (Shubman Gill 65 not out, Rohit Sharma 35) by 351 runs