Former Australian captain Allan Border fears the hosts may have missed a chance to push for victory by batting beyond tea at the Gabba.
Australia were dismissed for 294 on Monday’s rain-impacted fourth day, creating what would be a ground-record 328 chase for India to win the Test and the series.
But the visitors’ pursuit was cut short in the second over as more rain hit Brisbane, with India 0-4 when early stumps were called, with more rain expected overnight and on Tuesday’s final day.
With the hosts needing to win the Test to win the series, former skipper Allan Border had implored Australia to declare with a 276-run lead when rain forced an early tea break.
“We left it a little later than I would’ve done, given the circumstances,” he told Fox Sports.
“I can’t remember ever delaying a declaration where we didn’t win the game, so if Australia go on and win the game tomorrow you can’t criticise at all.”
Shane Warne said he felt India did the game a favour by bowling an Australian side out that never appeared likely to declare.
Former Test wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist had his theory as to why they held off.
“I can only assume they tried to prepare as if there wasn’t going to be rain,“ Gilchrist told Fox Sports.
“It might’ve been a little naive (given the bleak forecast) but 120 overs to chase 320 (on day five), that’s not off the table … so I guess they factored that in.”
Batsman Steve Smith is hopeful they’ll have enough time to take the 10 wickets required, but said it could be out of their hands.
“It’s hard to say with the weather … we’re certainly not weathermen,” he said.
“Tomorrow it’ll be about using that day five pitch and holding on to our chances … just letting it happen and not trying to force it.”
Australia hold the record for the biggest successful Gabba chase, managing 236 against the West Indies in 1951.
But there have been some monster fourth-innings efforts over the years, Pakistan at the top of the list with 450 in what proved a failed pursuit of 490 in 2016.
Just last week India held on for 131 overs, losing just five wickets as Australia hunted victory in a drawn third Test at the SCG.