A thriller on the cards

The fourth Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla is headed into an exhilarating climax.

Lyon roars: Moments such as these have been rare indeed on this tour.

Scorecard | Match photos | Day 1 | Manjrekar on Ashwin | IPL controversy

NEW DELHI:
Finally, a day like one that we'd hoped would mark the first of the series: there was needle, there was lip, and for once there was to proceedings the semblance of a fight. That it’s still an even game at the end of the second day should imply a moral victory for Australia, such has been their sorry tour; for at stumps on Wednesday, the harassed visitors held India to 266/8, confining the lead to just four on a pitch on which the hosts will bat last.

The much-maligned Nathan Lyon (5/94) was the pick of the bowlers. Branded the culprit for his team's abject surrender in the first Test – that set the tone for the series – the off-spinner was a handful on a surface that was still resisting the transformation from potential minefield to impossible batting track.

Lyon picked up his fifth on the last ball of the day, nailing R. Ashwin, who had earlier completed his ninth five-for on the morning, plumb in front. The way Lyon troubled Sachin Tendulkar (32) was reward enough, although tying up the maestro these days counts for little, and his greater achievement was in dislodging Cheteshwar Pujara (52) and Virat Kohli (1) after the 108-run opening stand between Pujara and Murali Vijay (57).

Regular dismissals halted the hosts, before Ravindra Jadeja (43) nudged them closer to wiping out the deficit. Jadeja featured in vital partnerships for the sixth and seventh wicket - with MS Dhoni (24) and Ashwin respectively - before he was out to a marginal 'lbw' call in Glenn Maxwell's first over of the day. 

Hundred for Ojha

Australia were earlier dismissed for 262 as Peter Siddle completed his maiden Test fifty and Pragyan Ojha reached 100 wickets. Thirty-one were added before the final two were taken, the wickets split between India's two chief spinners.

The half-centurion was bowled by Ashwin – his ninth five-for in 16 Tests – and Pattinson was taken by Kohli off Ojha. The left-armer thus became the third-fastest Indian to 100 wickets, behind Erapalli Prasanna and Anil Kumble, in his 22nd Test.

Century stand

Pujara opened again, this time to accommodate the debutant Ajinkya Rahane at No.5, and helped himself to a rare half-century that he did not manage to convert into three-figures. Half-volleys from James Pattinson and Mitchell Johnson were driven authoritatively through covers, strays on the pads were guided to fine-leg; Pujara was untroubled until he played for the turn against Lyon, and was bowled when the delivery failed to deviate enough.

Vijay was tested somewhat initially. Edges off Johnson raced to the fence while Peter Siddle, who had earlier completed a first-ever Test fifty in the morning, beat him with movement. But when a bowler erred, Vijay pounced upon the opportunity like cat upon a ball of wool.

Lyon was hit back and over and the Johnson flicked through mid-wicket, before the Chennai batsman reached his third successive half-century. Two wickets arrested the flow of runs after lunch. Pujara’s solitary lapse in reading Lyon saw him on his way, followed by the departure of Virat Kohli, who was out ‘lbw playing across to the same bowler, for one.

Tendulkar struggles

Tendulkar strode in (for the first of his two last Test innings on home soil?) and struggled against Lyon. Twice the off-spinner rapped him on the pads – pure luck saving the batsman the first time – before the maestro stepped out to lace him inside-out through covers.

It got even racier after tea.

Tendulkar punched and flicked Siddle for fours to begin the session and then a Siddle delivery erupted menacingly from a crack and slammed into Vijay, who gloved it to the wicket-keeper. Rahane was then accorded a grand welcome on debut as a bouncer thunked into his helmet, a strangulating close-in field in place.

Debut dashed

A maiden Test boundary later, Rahane popped a catch to backward short-leg off Lyon, giving way to Dhoni, who creamed it through covers for a four first ball. The Indian captain was dropped on 11 by Steve Smith at backward short-leg, but in the same over Lyon netted the bigger fish: Tendulkar was finally given out leg-before for 32 after playing back and missing, India's score on 180.

Dhoni and Jadeja spent an entertaining time in the middle. Jadeja got into a bit of a verbal scuffle with an animated David Warner; Dhoni ran straight down the pitch, much to counterpart Shane Watson's disgust; umpire Aleem Dar had to get a word in to prevent an escalation of events.

The Super Kings were whittling briskly away at the deficit when Dhoni pulled Pattinson casually and straight to mid-wicket, India still 52 runs behind. Another Super King came out in the form of Ashwin and joined Jadeja for more crucial runs, taking India nearer to a lead that may prove game-changing on such a treacherous pitch.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of the Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusia… More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »