The India vs Australia,Mohali Test is set for another repeat of Chennai and Hyderabad,where the Michael Clarke’s boys lost in never-before-seen humiliating manner,that revived and M S Dhoni’s captaincy. Murali Vijay (153) cracked his second successive century before young paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar quickly snapped up three Australian wickets to raise hopes of an Indian victory in the third cricket Test which seemed headed for an exciting finish.
After conceding a 91-run first innings lead,the visitors were struggling at 75 for three at stumps,on the penultimate day with Bhuvneshwar producing a brilliant spell to remove openers David Warner (2),Ed Cowan (8) and Steven Smith (5),who was promoted ahead of injured captain Michael Clarke.
At stumps,Phillip Hughes (53 batting) is fighting hard in company of nightwatchman Nathan Lyon (4).
The stage is now set for an engrossing fifth day’s play on a deteriorating track as India will try to dismissing seven remaining Aussie batsmen and keep the target within manageable limit with 98 overs permissible.
India lead the series 2-0 after convincing wins in Chennai and Hyderabad,and seemed to be on course to clinch the series despite Peter Siddle’s five-for,which helped Australia bowl out the hosts for 499.
Woefully out-of-form prior to this innings,Hughes struck nine fours and a six during his crucial knock. Bhuvneshwar’s figures were an impressive three for 25.
The UP seamer had Warner caught behind in the first over,though much of the ‘credit’ must go to the batsman who played an irresponsible shot to an away-going delivery.
Bhuvneshwar then had Cowan trapped in-front but this time he was a bit lucky as the ball had pitched outside leg and the batsman had made a big stride forward.
There was no doubt as far as his third wicket was concerned as Bhuvneshwar produced a beauty that held its line before knocking over Smith’s off-stump.
Resuming on a strong 283 for no loss,India were bundled out for the addition of just 216 runs,as Siddle returned with impressive figures of five for 71.
It was due to Siddle’s workmanlike effort that Australia ended the Indian innings within 500 — the hosts were at one point well on course for posting an even bigger total,thanks to debutant Dhawan’s record-breaking knock of 187 and a patient innings by Vijay.
The second new ball did the trick as Siddle and Starc combined to put the brakes on India’s scoring as India lost their last seven wickets for only 87 runs.
The visitors produced a much better effort today,picking up all the wickets,after yesterday’s hammering. In all,13 wickets fell on the day.
Vijay’s marathon knock came off 317 balls and the Tamil Nadu batsman spent 414 minutes while hitting 19 fours and three sixes. This was the 28-year-old’s third Test ton and interestingly,all his centuries have come against Australia.
Comfortably placed at 384 for three at lunch,India were taken by surprise after the break,with Australia staging a remarkable fightback to reduce the hosts to 431 for seven after Siddle had Ravichandran Ashwin caught behind.
Skipper Clarke’s decision to take the second new ball seven overs after lunch paid dividends,as Starc had Vijay trapped with one that swung in with the batsmen not offering a stroke.
The left-arm pacer had India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni with a similar delivery,the swung back sharply and batsman was caught plumb in-front.
Bowling with a scrambled seam,Siddle induced an edge from Ravindra Jadeja to make it 427 for six. The delivery moved away from the left-hander on landing and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin did the rest.
Ashwin followed six runs later,before Virat Kohli (50 not out) along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar arrested the slide helping India score 95 runs in the second session.
At the stroke of lunch,Sachin Tendulkar got out for 37 –
caught by Ed Cowan at forward short-leg off leggie Smith.
Resuming on 283 for no loss,Dhawan (187) and Cheteshwar Pujara were the two other batsmen to have been dismissed besides Tendulkar during the morning session.
Overnight on 83,Vijay added the 17 runs needed to get to the three-figure mark.
The 27-year-old Dhawan,after his blistering knock yesterday,was sent back after he could add just two runs to his overnight score of 185. He spent 251 minutes at the crease,faced 174 balls and smashed 33 fours besides hitting two sixes.
The left-handed batsman from Delhi has already broken quite a few records en route to his turbo-charged innings and was in line to rewrite a few more,before off-spinner Lyon had him caught by Cowan at silly point in only the day’s second over.
Next man in Pujara,was trapped in-front by pacer Siddle,who bowled a fairly tight spell,a far cry from the beating the Australians were subjected to by Dhawan in the last two sessions yesterday.
Vijay meanwhile got to his century with a lofted shot over midwicket off Lyon,his patient knock a stark contrast to the one played by his opening partner.
To get to his hundred,which was also his third against Australia,the 28-year-old Chennai batsman faced 206 balls and spent 276 minutes. He struck 12 boundaries and two sixes.
After sharing a 287-run partnership with Dhawan,which is India’s third highest for the first wicket,Vijay added another 92 runs with Tendulkar,who looked to be in good nick before getting out.
Watchful to start with,the Mumbai veteran soon opened up to play some delightful shots on either side of the wicket.
While his first boundary was a heave over midwicket,he was in his element soon as he straight drove Mitchell Starc in his first over – the ball raced towards the ropes before the bowler could even complete his follow-through.
Tendulkar then unleashed a cut against the left-arm seamer and the result was the same. Just before that,he played a masterful cover drive off Lyon,which brought the Sunday crowd to their feet.
Meanwhile,Tendulkar became the highest individual scorer on this ground surpassing former teammate Rahul Dravid,who held the previous record with 735 runs from nine matches.
Tendulkar is playing in his 11th Test at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium.
India’s 350 was up in the in the 81st over even as Clarke introduced his fourth specialist bowler Xavier Doherty,but the left-arm spinner could never really trouble the Indians on this bone-dry wicket.
But there was a period when Tendulkar went into a shell managing just two off 28 balls. Vijay,though,looked to accelerate breaking the shackles with a six over long-on off Doherty’s bowling. Tendulkar too,broke free,driving Moises Henriques through cover and mid-off.
But he could not survive the session as a Smith delivery turned and bounced awkwardly leading to his dismissal.