India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 4th day March 17, 2013

Bhuvneshwar's blows put India ahead


Australia 408 and 75 for 3 (Bhuvneshwar 3-25) trail India 499 (Dhawan 187, Vijay 153, Kohli 67*, Siddle 5-71) by 16 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

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. India's 10 wickets were rounded up for a mere 210, but a pesky first innings deficit of 91 was made to look defining by the tourists' all too predictable slide to 75 for 3 by the close.

Beginning the day at a commanding 283 for 0, India lost Shikhar Dhawan for 187 from the 11th ball of the morning. Aside from M Vijay's studious advance to 153 and Virat Kohli's measured unbeaten 67, none of the rest held Australia up for a protracted period. All the bowlers played their part, but Peter Siddle deserved the greatest plaudits for an admirably sustained and well-directed effort that reaped 5 for 71 at the ground on which he made his Test debut in 2008.

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.

David Warner, Ed Cowan and Steven Smith all fell by the wayside in the 21 overs bowled before the close, their tormentor not a spinner but the clever seam and swing merchant Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who moved the ball in a manner that emulated the success of Siddle and Mitchell Starc earlier in the day.

Australia's sole source of batting comfort was provided most surprisingly by Phillip Hughes, who was able to get his feet moving against a couple of overs of pace before the slow bowlers came on. This was a matter of circumstances, Warner's early dismissal and Clarke's bad back thrusting Hughes into the middle earlier than he has appeared for most of the series.

He was the beneficiary of plenty of fortune, several edges landing safely and other deliveries snaking past his groping bat, but the sight of Hughes scoring any runs at all will be the source of some relief to the visitors. They had to find someone to do a job after Warner swished unwisely in the first over, Cowan played around a straight ball and Smith was undone by a devilish delivery that shaped as though an inswinger but held its line to pluck off stump.

Clarke's team had clearly resolved to tighten up their bowling considerably after allowing Dhawan and the match to gallop away from them on the third afternoon, and there was to be an almost immediate reward for the greater purpose with which they went about the fourth morning. Clarke posted a silly point for Nathan Lyon to Dhawan, and a hint of extra bounce had the ball deflecting gently from splice of the bat into Cowan's hands.

Siddle was gaining useful movement with the old ball at the other end, threatening Vijay's stumps, but it was to be Cheteshwar Pujara who succumbed after waiting 289 runs for his chance. Siddle bent a delivery back into line with the stumps, and an inside edge was not enough to prevent the umpire Aleem Dar from raising his finger. Pujara stood aghast and shook his head while walking off, but it had appeared a strong shout to the naked eye - which is all the umpires are entitled to in this series.

Tendulkar thus walked out to face some of the best Australian bowling of the series so far, Lyon and Siddle both delivering searching spells. But they were unable to add a third wicket for the morning, as Tendulkar settled in smoothly and Vijay maintained his serene progress, having lofted Lyon over straight midwicket to reach a third Test century, all against Australia.

Starc and Xavier Doherty were not quite as dangerous as the bowlers they replaced, while Siddle and Clarke both spent time off the field, leaving the de facto vice-captain Brad Haddin to manoeuvre the field having been in India for less than a week. Tendulkar appeared to have settled in for a long stay, but Clarke's decision to hand Smith the final over of the session brought a rich dividend: his first ball drifted, dropped, bounced and spun a touch, drawing a Tendulkar misjudgement, an inside edge and a simple catch for Cowan. Lunch came and went with Vijay and Kohli looking comfortable enough, but Clarke then took the new ball.

For the first time in the series Starc found some appreciable movement, his first offering straightening down the line and surprising Vijay, who offered only his pad to be lbw. MS Dhoni pushed his first ball down the ground for four, but it continued to swing. He was very nearly lbw to his second ball, and very definitely lbw to his third, a curling ball of full length.

Ravindra Jadeja was reprieved from becoming the third victim of the over via the thinnest of inside edges, but at the other end Siddle found useful bounce, and extracted neat edges from Jadeja and then R Ashwin, both held safely by Haddin.

At this point India led by only 23 with three wickets in hand, and Australia sniffed a chance to roll up the innings and perhaps set the hosts a final-day target. But Kohli held firm in the company of Bhuvneshwar, Dhoni's stubborn partner in Chennai, and the lead grew while valuable time elapsed. Their union did not last after tea, Siddle plucking the final two wickets with consecutive balls spread across two overs.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on March 18, 2013, 8:48 GMT

    @GRVJPR on (March 17, 2013, 6:37 GMT) re

    "I can't see too many aussies not compalining about DRS, Now that pujara is out to a huge inside edge"

    Probably not but yours is the 1st comment so no one has commented on anything re the game on this thread prior to your comment

  • Graham on March 18, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    Jack_D; I still disagree with you in regards to the Cowan decision. When umpiring myself, with a ball pitching short of length right arm bowler to left hand batsman you have serious doubts whether the ball pitches in line, I agree it would have hit the stumps. Predominately if they pitch in line they are going to miss unless significant swing. I cant see how the umpire knew 100% that all pitched in line. The replay showed pretty much exactly the same as Clarke to Du Plessis in Adelaide which was overturned on review and given Not Out. So I believe Cowans would have been overturned on review as well. I personally believe too many of these guess work decisions are given out, even if slow motion replay shows it was possibly out I cant understand how an umpire can conclude that it is definetely out.

  • chris on March 18, 2013, 6:21 GMT

    You know what .....when Hughes leaves the team , because his innings did nothing for me, he can take Warner with him....I am sick to death with his batting style ..are we here to put butts on seats or win tests.? I have seen him play too many b.s. innings to justify why he is runniing the opening of our nations inning. If people are screaming for Wade to be de selected, who has is only 4 runs less in average , and he keeps, than Warner. Seriously I think he must be dumb as a box of rocks....too many times in his short career have i seen him play quick idiotic shots . So undisciplined.....keep him in the shorter form , and find someone who will realise the importance of his wicket.

  • Sunny on March 18, 2013, 6:10 GMT

    @ Thefakebook Forget about 3-1 change your prediction to 4-0 it will sound good

  • Andrew on March 18, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Ponting has indicated that he is interested in playing another year of shield cricket. I wonder if he can be lured back into the test team.

    Henriques is not good enough to be in the team as a bowler or a batsman. Being player that is equally ordinary with bat and ball doesn't make you a test class allrounder.

    I don't know where the selectors can go for a side for the next test. I am tempted to go with an all pace attack. So far the only successful bowlers in the Australian team has been Pattinson and Siddle.

    So far Lyon and Doherty have managed 10 wickets between them at an average of over 70 runs a wicket. You would expect those figures from a couple of part timers.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    Now two closing fielder if they hang around may be its one!!!!!!very defencive!!!!

  • V.L on March 18, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    @ Int.Curator Whats with whining about "Fair" pitches? Can you define the term for us please. Oh let me guess, fast , bouncy, seaming wickets are fair and spinning wickets are doctored, unfair? Just because you got whipped does not mean you guys should act like sore "you know what". Besides this track has enough help for the faster bowlers but still India came out on top. You OZ should take lessons from England about playing in the subcontinent. The Ashes wont be any different. There will be no interest as there will be no contest. Aus will get thumped by the Englishmen at both home and away.

  • GAURAV on March 18, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    Why not give chance to Buvnesh kumar to get 5 wickets. It would be a tremendous achievement for youngster on this pitch. I have seen batsmen given extra time to score those useless 100's before. Unbelievable!

  • Sunny on March 18, 2013, 5:44 GMT

    @ Int.Curator What you have to say about your team's performance they are struggling on a flat track, forgot about fair contest when australia will play in England they will wind up australia in before 5 days. When any team don't have quality players they can't pefrom even on good tracks like this peformance of australia in this innings.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2013, 5:41 GMT

    Msd is most defencive but street smart captain from india.Look it field spinner are operating 8 down but still three fielder on the fence.If australia attack may be dhoni put more fielder on the fence miki arther r u listning? but ya he is most luckiest and street smart also like hughes decision dhoni show the ball had go to the middle he analayse quickly and not went other smart amazing thinking.