Needing 128 runs to win the Test and take 2-0 lead in the series, Australia lost two quick wickets before tea with Ishant Sharma bowling a hostile spell after bowling few loose balls in his first over.
First, he dismissed David Warner with a beauty of a delivery. Bowled from around the wicket, the ball straightened after pitching and found an edge of Warner's bat as Dhoni took an easy catch.
Then, Watson was next to follow when he misjudged a short ball and mistimed a pull off Ishant Sharma. Australia went into tea losing two wickets for 25. India though could not manage to contain Australian batsmen; especially Chris Rogers, who launhed into attack. The left-hander brought up his fifty in quick time to take Australia closer to victory.
Meanwhile, Virat Kohli dropped an easy catch to send Steve Smith back to the dressing room. Smith edeged off Varun Aaron's bowling, but Kohli standing in slips, made an absolute mess of it. While he has been a fine fielder in the outfield, his catching in slips continues to be a cause of concern.
Australia lost three wickets as the fininshing line was closer but that was a tad too late for India to pull off a heist and stop the hosts from taking unassailable lead in the fourt match series.
Shikhar Dhawan though, did not face any such issues, when he took a fine catch to end Rogers' inning off Ishant Sharma's bowling. The Australian had cut hard but Dhawan kept his composure to take a smart catch in the slips.
Earlier, Shikhar Dhawan managed to hold fort and guide India to 100-plus lead with a fifty run partnership with Umesh Yadav. However, the adventurous streak in the left-hander got him out off Lyon's bowling after scoring 81.
Varun Aaron who joined Yadav in the middle, could not last long when he tried to loft Lyon. Umesh Yadav, meanwhile, continued his good work with the bat as he smashed two sixes in Lyon's over. But soon, his vigil and Indian inning came to an end when Mitchell Johnson got Yadav out.
The ICC Cricketer of the Year, Mitchell Johnson reprised the onslaught that drove his country to victory in the opening Ashes test at the same ground last year to help leave India with a lead of just 60 over Australia's first innings tally of 505.
India resumed on 71-1 without opener Shikhar Dhawan, who was injured warming up in the nets which prompted the India team to complain about the state of the practice pitches, looking to erase the last 26 runs off their first innings deficit and build another imposing tally to match their first innings 408.
They lost Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the first 20 minutes, however, and crept into credit just before Ravi Ashwin joined his team mates in the dressing room.
Dhawan's trip to the hospital for X-rays on his injured right wrist was hurriedly cancelled and he rejoined Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle to see out the session with 41 runs on the board.
Pujara had brought the only solidity to the innings but he too departed just before the break for 43, giving debutant Josh Hazlewood his second victim of the day and bringing in tailender Umesh Yadav (seven not out).
Backing up the pugnacious innings of 88 that brought Australia back into the match on Friday, paceman Johnson came out firing and blitzed the tourists with three wickets for 10 runs in 11 balls.
Kohli, who had come out in place of Dhawan despite also being hit in the nets before play, chopped on for one with the first ball of Johnson's second over with Rahane (10) popping the ball up for Nathan Lyon at backward point and Rohit Sharma caught behind for a duck in his third.
Debutant paceman Josh Hazlewood, who took five for 68 in the first innings, pitched in on the second ball of the following over to trap Dhoni leg before for a duck. Ashwin lasted 29 balls and made 19 runs when he followed caught behind off left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, a decision that looked unfortunate with television replays suggesting there had been no contact with the bat.
- Published in Cricket