Pant fireworks offer India glimmer of hope in Sydney

SYDNEY: Rishabh Pant took the fight to Australia with a blistering half century to help India to 206 for three on the final day of the third test on Monday but the tourists will resume their innings after lunch still 200 runs in arrears.

India had started a sunny day at Sydney Cricket Ground on 98-2 chasing an unlikely victory target of 407 and were immediately on the back foot when Ajinkya Rahane was dismissed in the second over of play.

Pant's 73 from 97 balls, however, offered them a glimmer of hope of pulling off a remarkable win which would give them a 2-1 series lead heading into the final test in Brisbane.

The wicketkeeper was a serious injury doubt on Saturday after taking a nasty blow to his elbow but showed no signs of constraint as he pummeled two huge sixes off Nathan Lyon to move to the brink of his third half century.

Cheteshwar Pujara was the chalk to Pant's cheese, contributing 41 runs from 147 deliveries to a partnership worth 104 runs at the break.

Australia were pinning their hopes on Lyon's off-spin having a big impact on a deteriorating day-five wicket and he wasted no time in sending back Rahane for four, Matthew Wade taking the catch off an inside edge at short leg.

The hosts will still be strong favourites to win, especially as India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is not guaranteed to bat after dislocating his thumb in the first innings.

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