India close to win in 3rd Test
India closed in on achieving their best-ever series win over Australia after quickly snapping up five wickets, including skipper Michael Clarke, which left the visitors staring at another heavy defeat in the third cricket Test here today.
Resuming on 75 for three, India grabbed the five Australian wickets while giving away 95 runs in 46 overs, before the two teams went to lunch on the fifth and final day at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium.
At lunch, Australia were ahead by 79 runs, with Brad Haddin and Mitchell Starc batting on 23 and nine respectively.
With 98 overs to be bowled today, 46 of which has already been delivered, India will look to bundle out the visitors as quickly as possible and then chase down the target within the stipulated overs.
Nathan Lyon, Clarke, overnight batsman Phillip Hughes (69), Mosies Henriques and Peter Siddle were the batsmen to have been dismissed, which left India within sniffing distance of winning their third straight Test against Australia.
Leading the four-match series 2-0, India, since playing their first official match 81 years ago in 1932, have never won more than two matches against Australia in the longer format of the game.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja again turned out to be the star performer for India, picking up the wickets of Henriques (2) and Clarke (18) –- this was the fifth time in six outings that the Saurashtra player had taken the Australian skipper's wicket.
After night-watchman Nathan Lyon was caught behind off Pragyan Ojha for the day's first wicket in the innings' 28th over, in walked Clarke, who demoted himself in the batting order due to a recurring sore back.
Clarke survived 49 balls for his 18 while hitting three boundaries, before Jadeja came back to get his bunny, caught at forward short-leg by Cheteshwar Pujara who held on the catch after the Aussie got an inside edge onto his pads.
There was some confusion over Clarke's dismissal, but the umpire checked with the third umpire to clear his doubts.
In deep hole at 119 for five and with their captain gone, a bad decision by Aleem Dar only added to Australia's woes. R Ashwin hit Hughes on the pads but the ball pitched outside leg and didn't straighten enough to hit the stumps.
Woefully out of form prior to this innings, Hughes dug in for 165 minutes before becoming a victim of a bad decision. He struck 11 fours and a six during his 147-ball knock at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium.
Jadeja then pulled off a blinder of a catch to dismiss Henriques. After luring the batsman to go for it, Jadeja stretched full-length to his left to pull off a diving catch. After being lofted over long-off for a six by Peter Siddle, Ojha had his man when he knocked over his off-stump to leave Australia stuttering at 143 for eight.
Young paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar had yesterday evening snapped up three Australian wickets to raise hopes of an Indian victory.
After conceding a 91-run first innings lead, the visitors were struggling at when stumps were called on the penultimate day, with Bhuvneshwar producing a brilliant spell to remove openers David Warner (2), Ed Cowan (8) and Steven Smith (5), who was promoted ahead of the injured Clarke.
While Bhuvneshwar led the wickets tally with figures of three for 25, there were two apiece for Jadeja and Ojha, with Ashwin chipping in with one.†