Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne run between the wickets as Australia reduced India's lead to 18 on the final day of the fourth Test in Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad (India) (AFP) - Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne stood firm to reduce Australia’s second innings deficit to 18 as India raced against time for an unlikely win on day five of the fourth Test on Monday.
Even before the result was determined, India qualified for the World Test Championship final after New Zealand edged out Sri Lanka by two wickets in a final-ball thriller in the opening Test in Christchurch.
Rohit Sharma’s Indian team will take on Australia in the title clash at The Oval between June 7-11.
Australia reached 73-1 at lunch at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad, with Head on 45 and Labuschagne on 22.
Australia lost nightwatchman Matthew Kuhnemann for six off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.
Indian spinners got some turn on the final-day track and beat the bat on a few occasions but Head and Labuschagne stayed calm with occasional boundaries.
Head took on the opposition spinners with five fours and the team’s only six in the match so far as he smashed Ashwin back over his head.
Regular opener Usman Khawaja was yet to bat with “a lower leg soreness” after getting hurt while fielding on day four.
India, who lead 2-1 and need a win or draw to clinch the four-match series, rode on Virat Kohli’s epic 186 to post 571 all out on day four and build a lead of 91 against Australia’s 480 in the first innings.
Kohli was the last man out after Shreyas Iyer did not bat due to lower back pain and the team said Monday that he will take no further part in this Test.
The pitch in the run-filled match has been vastly different from the viciously turning tracks in the opening three Tests, which all ended inside three days.