AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) -Travis Head fell short of his hundred but his 139-run partnership with Marnus Labuschagne boosted Australia's bid to secure a draw in the fourth and final test against India on Monday.
Australia, who had conceded a lead of 91, were 158-2 in their second innings at tea on the final day of the contest, with a lead of 67 runs.
Labuschagne was batting on 56 at the break, with stand-in skipper Steve Smith yet to open his account at the other end.
Regardless of the outcome of the match, India's place in the World Test Championship final against Australia in June was confirmed after Sri Lanka blew their chances following a two-wicket loss to New Zealand in Christchurch earlier in the day.
India's hopes of a third victory in the series hinged on a batting collapse but the wicket at the Narendra Modi Stadium did not deteriorate as much as their spinners would have liked.
Australia had sent out Matt Kuhnemann to open the innings with Head on Sunday after Usman Khawaja hurt his knee while fielding.
Kuhnemann, who faced 35 balls for his six runs, was unlucky to be given lbw to a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery which, replays confirmed, would have missed the stumps.
Wary of potentially wasting a review on a nightwatchman, Australia opted against challenging the decision.
Head, who made 90, brought up his first fifty of the series with a four off left-arm spinner Axar Patel and hit Ashwin over his head for a six.
The duo helped erased Australia's deficit but Head fell when Patel landed the ball on a rough patch and got it to spin past the bat, hitting the top of the off-stump.
India are 2-1 ahead in the four-test series.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford)