Mohali, Mar.17 (ANI): Pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar's triple strike in Australia's second innings has given India a sniff of a possible win in the third Test being played in Mohali on the final day on Monday.
Kumar claimed the wickets of openers David Warner and Ed Cowan, and the wicket of one-drop batsman Steve Smith to leave Australia reeling at 75 for three at the close of the fourth day's play, still rquiring a further 16 runs to make India bat again.
Earlier, India resuming at 283 for no loss, lost nine wickets for the addition of 216 runs. The hosts managed to take a 91-run lead over Australia, eventually getting all out for 499.
Opener Shikar Dhawan could only add a further two runs to his overnight score of 185 before falling to off-spinner Nathan Lyon in the leg trap. The other opener Murali Vijay also completed his century, eventually getting out for 153 leg before wicket to Peter Siddle. Thereafter, middle-order batsman Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 67 as the rest of the Indian batting line-up folded around him.
For the Australians, pace bowler Peter Siddle returned with figures of five for 71. MItchell Starc claimed two wickets, while Lyon and Smith claimed the remaining three.
Whatever Australia's gains on day four in Mohali, they still ended it staring a third consecutive defeat squarely in the face. Further anxiety was created by the impression that the captain Michael Clarke's degenerative back condition had finally caught up with him in a Test match.
The most disquieting element of Australia's day in the field was Clarke's visible struggle with his back, which he was stretching almost as soon as he walked to the middle in the morning. Clarke spent numerous passages of the day receiving treatment, and he was ginger whenever he did appear. Notably absent when the tourists batted, the lack of Clarke's reassuring presence no doubt having an effect on what followed. It is not yet known when Clarke will bat.
Dhawan's 187 is the sixth-highest score by a batsman on Test debut, and the highest by an Indian. The previous-best for India was Gundappa Viswanath's 137.
Dhawan's score is the second-highest by an opener on debut, after Brendon Kuruppu's 201 not out.
Dhawan's also the first Indian opener to score a century on debut.
All three of M Vijay's Test hundreds have come against Australia. His average in five Tests against them is 73.25; against other teams, he averages 22.43 in ten Tests.
This is the 14th instance of both openers scoring more than 150 in an innings in Tests, and the second for India. The previous time it happened against a team other than Zimbabwe or Bangladesh was almost a decade ago, by South Africa against England in July 2003.
The partnership of 289 between Dhawan and Vijay is the third-best for the opening wicket for India, and the 17th in the all-time list.
Peter Siddle's 5 for 71 is his seventh five-for in Tests, but only the second overseas, after his 5 for 21 at Headingley in 2009. (ANI)