|Fourth Test, Brisbane (day one):|
|Australia 274-5: Labuschagne 108|
|India: Yet to bat|
Marnus Labuschagne’s century put Australia on top after day one of the decisive fourth Test in Brisbane, as dropped catches cost depleted India.
Australia were 17-2 but Labuschagne’s 108 from 204 balls – his fifth Test ton – saw them recover to close 274-5.
Labuschagne was dropped twice, on 37 and 48, as India’s fielders let down an inexperienced bowling attack.
Shardul Thakur also put down a sharp caught and bowled chance off Cameron Green late in the evening session.
Green ended the day 28 not out as he and captain Tim Paine, who was unbeaten on 38, capitalised on weary bowlers with a unbroken stand of 61.
India have been decimated by injuries throughout the series and had to make four further changes for this Test, with star bowlers Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin the latest to be ruled out.
Seamer T Natarajan and spinner Washington Sundar were both given debuts and Natarajan claimed two wickets, including having Labuschagne caught off a top edge.
Navdeep Saini left the field in his eighth over because of a groin injury and the seamer did not return.
The winner of the series finale in Brisbane will take the series, although India only need to draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
|168: Ricky Ponting||115: Michael Clarke|
|168: Steve Waugh||107: David Boon|
|156: Allan Border||105: Justin Langer|
|145: Shane Warne||104: Mark Taylor|
|128: Mark Waugh||103: Matthew Hayden|
|124: Glenn McGrath||100*: Nathan Lyon|
|119: Ian Healy|
Labuschagne adds to India’s pain
As a result of their injury crisis, India have now used 20 players across the four Tests in Australia – the most by a team in a series away from home.
Their bowling attack, none of whom featured in the series opener, have played four previous Tests combined.
Despite their inexperience, they bowled well before tiring in the Brisbane heat. It was India’s catching that let them down.
Captain Ajinkya Rahane spilled a routine chance when Labuschagne edge to him at gully. Had that catch been taken Australia would have been 93-4.
Cheteshwar Pujara soon put down a more difficult low chance, at slip off the spin of Sundar, and Labuschagne went on to punish the mistakes.
He put on 113 with Matthew Wade, who made 45 before also falling to a top edge off Natarajan.
The wickets of Wade and Labuschagne came within 13 balls, but the late partnership between Green and Paine ensured Australia ended on top.
Australia are just ahead – reaction
Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, speaking to ABC: “We have just got our noses ahead, on a day when we could have really put foot on throat and we just didn’t quite. When Marnus and Wadey were batting we let it slip a fraction. That partnership at the end has probably just got us ahead.”
Former Australia bowler Stuart Clark on ABC: “274 is a decent total. Australia will want to post more than that. The first half an hour will be a crucial half an hour for India. I think you would say Australia are just ahead. It could have been a whole lot better but could have been a whole lot worse.”
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell on ABC: “Dropped catches have been the story of the series. India could have had Australia seven wickets at stumps. That would have been a pretty satisfying day. Australia have probably climbed back into the lead with that late run surge”
Listen to commentary of Australia v India on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website.