Siddle resurgence gives Australia hope
Peter Siddle has said Australia have not given up on the prospect of winning the Mohali Test, although they know something remarkable would have to happen with one day to play. Only a victory will keep Australia alive in the series. Having lost in Chennai and Hyderabad they need to force a 2-2 draw to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Losing the first day to rain did not help Australia's cause but even more of a setback was the 289-run opening partnership they allowed Shikhar Dhawan and M Vijay to compile. Australia's first innings of 408 looked reasonable but India ended up with a 91-run lead and by stumps on the fourth day the Australians were wobbling in their second innings at 75 for 3, still 16 runs behind.
"We know that a draw doesn't help us at all, but we'll do everything we can to see where we can get," Siddle said. "It will be hard for us to win, we know that, but we just have to see where we end up.
"We haven't spoken too much about it, but we knew we had to knock off the target first. They set us a few more than we would have liked to be chasing going back out there but we have done pretty well. We lost more wickets than we would have liked but that's what we have to do, we have to keep pushing along and see what position we can put ourselves in."
Key to Australia's hopes will be Phillip Hughes, who has endured an awful tour until this innings but found some form and reached 53 from 68 balls at stumps. Previously in the series Hughes has looked unwilling to play shots against the spinners but in this innings he was more adventurous. The fact he scored quickly was an advantage but the loss of three top-order wickets was the major issue.
"He has been working so hard in the nets preparing to score runs and it just hasn't come about so it is great for him to get a few runs under his belt and be not out overnight," Siddle said. "It gives him a chance to go in tomorrow and did in see where he goes, hopefully he can go big."
Like Hughes, Siddle had not enjoyed a productive tour until the fourth day in Mohali and the start of the day he had series figures of 2 for 197. But he struck early, trapping Cheteshwar Pujara lbw and later when the ball began to swing he and Mitchell Starc became more of a threat. Siddle finished with 5 for 71 and said it was pleasing to be able to contribute some wickets at last.
"Before the Test, I was disappointed with my performances and what I was lacking was building pressure and setting up good partnerships for the team," Siddle said. "I think I went a bit better in this match with that side of things. There was still a loose ball and too many boundaries that I am picky with myself on. But it is nice to come away with the rewards.
"The bowling today from both ends, the partnerships and how we planned to go about getting the wickets, we did that today and I was the lucky one who got the results. I think there was a bit more fight today, we knew we had to go out there and bowl to our plans and slow it down and put a bit of pressure back on them which I think we did. A few wickets tonight set us back but we will turn up tomorrow and see how we go."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here