Bhuvneshwar, Kohli put India ahead
Virat Kohli pushed India’s lead to 91 before Bhuvneshwar Kumar struck thrice in the third session to reduce Australia to 75/3 at Stumps on Day 4 of the third Test at Mohali.
After the fireworks of Saturday, Shikhar Dhawan (187, 174b) fell early on Day 2, bringing to an end a mammoth 289 run opening partnership. Cheteshwar Pujara (1) then got a poor decision, adjudged LBW for cheap when he had gotten an inside edge off Peter Siddle. Murali Vijay sagely reached his hundred but progress was slow in the first session. After the two frenetic sessions on Day 3, India scored just 101 runs in the morning, losing a third wicket in the form of Sachin Tendulkar (37, 81b, 5x4) who was LBW to Steve Smith’s first ball of the session.
Vijay reached his 150 but fell shortly after when the new ball was taken. He made 153 (317b, 19x4, 3x6), his second consecutive 150+ score against the Australians. Mitchell Starc managed to extract good movement, catching both Vijay and MS Dhoni plumb LBW in the same over to peg India back. Siddle then got into the act, removing R Jadeja and R Ashwin in successive overs as India slid to 431/7 from 412/3. Bhuvneshwar Kumar batted sensibly, providing support to Virat Kohli who busily set about salvaging what could have been a match settling lead.
Kohli went after terribly loose deliveries like a full toss from Smith early in his innings but restrained himself after the quick loss of wickets, not going for boundaries until well after he was settled. He brought up his 50 off the last ball before Tea, which India reached at 479/7.
Moises Henriques broke the 61 run Kohli-Kumar partnership for the eighth wicket and Siddle wrapped up Ishant and Ojha soon after that. Siddle finished with 5/71 and Kohli remained unbeaten on 67* (129b 7x4 1x6) as India were bowled out for 499 with a first innings lead of 91.
David Warner survived a chance off the second ball of the Australian innings but was gone anyway next ball, flashing at a wide one off Bhuvneshwar to edge it to Dhoni.
Michael Clarke had spent a lot of the day while Australia were bowling off the field, receiving treatment for his back problem which seemed to have flared up. Barely comfortable in the stretches he was on-field, he understandably demoted himself from no.3 and instead sent in the woefully out of form Phil Hughes.
Hughes then produced his best cricket of the series, taking on Kumar and even R Ashwin, making amends for his horrible show on the tour so far. Bhuvneshwar struck again a few overs later, getting Ed Cowan LBW in what seemed to be a marginal call.
Hughes kept motoring ahead, attacking Jadeja in a busy partnership with Steve Smith. Bhuvneshwar returned to dismiss his Pune teammate, setting him up with inswingers before hitting his offstump with a ball that held its line. Australia were 55/3 at the point.
Phil Hughes brought up a run a ball fifty with another four off Ashwin, Lyon providing adequate support to take Australia to 75/3 at stumps with the deficit narrowed to 16 runs. They still have 7 wickets in hand and a maximum of 95 overs to face tomorrow but Clarke’s back troubles will have them in a bind.