India's batsman Rishabh Pant plays a shot over the boundary line for six runs on day five of the fourth cricket Test match between Australia and India at The Gabba in Brisbane on 19 January, 2021.
India's batsman Rishabh Pant plays a shot over the boundary line for six runs on day five of the fourth cricket Test match between Australia and India at The Gabba in Brisbane on 19 January, 2021.AFP

Shubman Gill fell short of a brilliant century and Cheteshwar Pujara was battered and bruised but India eyed a victory for the ages on Tuesday, needing 145 runs to win the fourth test decider against Australia with seven wickets in hand at tea on day five.

Spinner Nathan Lyon ended Gill's sparkling knock at 91 and Pat Cummins had stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane caught behind for a rapid-fire 24 but Pujara survived a vicious pace assault as India pushed to 183 for three.

Pujara was 43 not out on a hot and sunny afternoon at the Gabba, with hard-hitting wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant on 10.

Pant was promoted ahead of Mayank Agarwal as India signalled their intent to push for the win.

With the series level at 1-1, holders India need only a draw in Brisbane to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, two years after their breakthrough 2-1 win in the 2018/19 series Down Under.

Australia must win the match to take the trophy from India's grasp.

The highest successful chase in a Gabba test was in 1951 when Australia finished 236 for seven, but there have been big scores in recent years. Pakistan racked up 450 in the fourth innings at the ground in a lost cause in 2016.

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India resumed on 83 for one after lunch, and 21-year-old Gill picked up where he had left off, punishing Australia's bowlers with raw aggression.

Smashing an injury-hampered Mitchell Starc for a six and two fours in three balls, Gill also took to Lyon with gusto.

His brilliant 146-ball knock was finally ended when he prodded at a Lyon delivery that pitched wide and sent a nick to the safe hands of Steve Smith at slip.

Rahane came out with a similar mindset and raced to 24 off 22 balls before Cummins removed him with a short ball that clipped the top edge of the captain's bat as he tried to duck under it.

The courageous Pujara endured a torrid time at the crease, receiving multiple blows to the helmet and body.

He was assessed twice by the team doctor, and had the stem guard knocked off his helmet when paceman Josh Hazlewood fired a bouncer at his head.

The frustrated Hazlewood offered no sympathy, instead yelling: "Feel that one?"

Cummins took the early wicket, coaxing Rohit Sharma forward to catch a thick edge to be out for seven, with Paine diving to his right to take the catch.

Gill survived a big appeal for lbw after not playing a shot when on 30 against Lyon.

Given not out, Australia reviewed the decision. Though the ball-tracking technology showed the delivery crashing into the top of leg-stump, the decision was deemed "umpire's call" and Gill survived.

A desperate Australia later squandered a review seeking to overturn a not out decision for lbw on Rahane, when Lyon rapt his pads and the batsman was on one run.

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