PV Sports Desk : Marnus Labuschagne rode his luck to a home-ground century as Australia exploited India’s injury woes and punished their poor fielding to reach 274 for five at the close of a steamy opening day of the fourth Test decider in Brisbane on Friday.
Captain Tim Paine was 38 not out and all-rounder Cameron Green on 28, with Australia holding sway after winning the toss and batting on a Gabba pitch that flattened out obligingly for the hosts under a blazing sun.
Dropped on 37 and 48 before tea, Labuschagne feasted on India’s makeshift attack in a 113-run partnership with Matthew Wade (45) before Australia’s number three was out slogging for 108.
Without a single first-choice bowler available — all sidelined or long since departed with injuries — India blooded two debutants in paceman T. Natarajan and spin-bowling all-rounder Washington Sundar, among four changes to the 11 that held on for a courageous draw in Sydney.
Both the new boys had their moments, with Sundar claiming Steve Smith (36) as his first Test wicket when the master batsman chipped a half-volley to short mid-wicket.