Make no mistake, this was a Test series Australia should never have lost. Serious questions must be asked from top to bottom.
Make no mistake, this was a Test series Australia should never have lost. Serious questions must be asked from top to bottom.

Confidence-crushed: How we lost the unlosable Test

The Gabbatoir is dead.

Australia's 33-year Test dominance in Brisbane is over after India conjured the most miraculous of victories at the Gabba on Tuesday to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

The three-wicket triumph was orchestrated by inspiring innings from three-match rookie Shubman Gill (91), unbreakable Cheteshwar Pujara (56) and the explosive Rishabh Pant (89 not out) in a run-chase that set a 90-year record.

The win delivered India a remarkable 2-1 victory in a gripping series and delivered a hammer blow to Australia's hopes of winning the World Test Championship at Lord's later this year.

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Questions will be asked about Tim Paine’s captaincy. Picture: Getty Images
Questions will be asked about Tim Paine’s captaincy. Picture: Getty Images

Make no mistake, this was a supposedly unlosable Test for Australia and a series defeat on home soil to an injury-ravaged India is a confidence-crushing result.

Serious questions must be asked about Tim Paine's captaincy, Australia's unreliable batting and the failure of the world's best bowling attack.

They become the first Australian team to lose a Test at the Gabba since Allan Border's class of 1988 fell to one of the great West Indies outfits featuring legends Viv Richards, Curtly Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall and Courtney Walsh.

India's third-string bowling attack for this match had a combined total of four Tests and 13 wickets between them. They were given no hope.

The visitors have faced so many hurdles this tour that Pujara and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane were the only surviving players from India's brutal eight-wicket loss in the first Test at Adelaide.

India was rolled for a humiliating 36 in Adelaide before star skipper Virat Kohli returned home for the birth of his first child.

Remarkably, India didn't lose another Test.

They claimed a dominant eight-wicket win in Melbourne and fought hard for a draw in Sydney before producing what will go down as one of the country's great Test wins in Brisbane.

India chased down Australia's target of 328 with three overs left in the match, Pant hitting the winning runs in a fine knock of 89 from 138 balls.

Pat Cummins was the only Australian bowler to fire a shot on a gripping final day, his 4-55 from 24 overs a rare highlight for the home side.

In his 100th Test, off-spinner Nathan Lyon (2-85) was left stranded on 399 wickets while Josh Hazelwood (1-74) couldn't repeat his first innings five-wicket haul.

What a win! India players celebrate after the winning runs. Picture: Getty Images
What a win! India players celebrate after the winning runs. Picture: Getty Images

Man of the series when the countries last met in 2018-19, Pujara's 56 from 211 balls was the most patient knock of his 81-Test career and provided the anchor for India's perfectly timed chase.

India's new version of "The Wall" bravely wore a barrage of brutal short-pitched bowling which saw him cop numerous shots to the body and head yet rarely flinch.

Pujara came to the crease with India 1-18, and $21 outsiders with the bookmakers, and departed at 4-228 with a shot at victory.

Gill, 21, was the aggressor that set the tone for an unlikely India victory, his 146-ball innings including eight fours and two sixes as the visitors dared to dream.

What a win! India players celebrate after the winning runs. Picture: Getty Images
What a win! India players celebrate after the winning runs. Picture: Getty Images

But it was Pant that once again proved to be Australia's kryptonite.

The chirpy wicketkeeper-batsman scored a crucial 97 to save the Sydney Test and his daring batting in Brisbane guided India home at a buzzing Gabba which was flooded by Indian fans late in the day.

India's fourth innings 7-329 set a new record for successful run chases in 90 years of Gabba Tests, eclipsing Australia's 7-236 in 1951.

The crescendo of a brilliant series delivered India one of its most memorable moments in history, but dealt Australia a serious wake-up call ahead of next month's tour of South Africa.

Coach Justin Langer, Paine and Australia's selectors must look honestly at the short-fallings of this team if they are to have any hope of salvaging a result against the Proteas and staying in the hunt for the Test Championship.

Originally published as Confidence-crushed: How we lost the unlosable Test