Brisbane: Test rookies Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur punched above their weight with splendid half-centuries to keep Australia at bay, after an engrossing third day's play in the series-deciding fourth Test here on Sunday.
The series is level at 1-1 with two days remaining and it appears that India are on track to at least force a draw that would ensure they retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
Australia's openers -- David Warner (20) and Marcus Harris (1) -- saw out six overs, and extended the home team's lead to 54 by stumps after India's first innings ended at 336.
However, Australia's lead could have been much more had it not been for a delightful 123-run partnership for the seventh wicket between Washington (62) and Shardul (67), who defied and then attacked the rival bowling attack with gusto.
"We knew their bowlers were tiring out a bit so it was a matter of hanging in there for one hour. We knew we probably would be on top if we hung in," said Shardul at the post-play press conference.
Pacer Josh Hazlewood finished with a well-deserved 5/57 for Australia, a reward for consistently bowling with an impeccable line and length at a brisk pace.
Symbolising the courage shown by the visitors, now almost second-string owing to a plethora of injures suffered by their top players, Washington and Shardul mixed caution with aggression to bail their team out of a precarious 186 for six.