Warner fifty puts Australia in command

Warner fifty puts Australia in command
David Warner followed up his first innings hundred with a half-century in the second, giving Australia command of proceedings on day four of the first cricket Test against India here today.

At the Adelaide Oval, the left-handed opener was batting on 69 off 105 balls. He hit seven fours and a six, putting on 101 runs with Shane Watson (33*, 83 balls, 4 fours, 1 six) as the hosts' lead reached 212 runs.

Warner and Chris Rogers resumed after lunch, looking to frustrate the Indians further. But that didn't work out for long as Karn Sharma (1-50) got an early breakthrough in the session, dismissing Rogers in only the third over. The opener scored 21 runs off 45 balls with two fours.

The leg-spinner had been introduced early in the sixth over and India probably felt the need of a second spinner on this deteriorating pitch as Murali Vijay (0-27) too bowled six overs. Surprisingly enough Mohammad Shami (0-7) didn't bowl at all in this post-lunch session after the three overs bowled before the break.

Clearly the Indian team's plan was to use medium pace from only one end and to this effect Ishant Sharma (0-31) toiled hard. But this combination of Karn-Ishant-Vijay couldn't bring about the desired effect and even Rohit Sharma (0-3) was introduced later on in the session. Meanwhile, Warner-Watson motored along nicely to bring up the 50-run mark in the 16th over, with the former completing 1000 Test runs in the 2014 calendar year.

Their partnership reached the 50-run mark in the 24th over, with Warner bringing up his 14th Test fifty in the next over. He reached there in 63 balls, with 6 fours and 1 six, his stay at the crease threatening India's position in the match.

The 100-run mark then came up in the 27th over as everyone began to wonder whatever happened to Varun Aaron (0-16) who was yet to bowl.

The answer came in the 32nd over when he first came on to bowl in this second Australian innings. He bowled four eventful overs, and was nearly successful in his second one – the 34th of the innings – when he bowled Warner with the batsman on 66 at that time. But the umpire ruled it a no-ball giving a second chance to the opener.

Tempers flared up as a result, with Aaron, Warner, Watson and Shikhar Dhawan getting involved, and the umpires had to step in. It led to an interesting passage of play thereafter as the Australian lead crossed the 200-run mark, as also bringing the 100-run partnership for the two batsmen.

Earlier, Nathan Lyon took his sixth five-wicket haul in Test cricket as India collapsed to be bowled out for 444 runs (116.4 overs) in their first innings. Lyon took 5-134 as the visitors lost five wickets for just 75 runs in this morning session and surrendered a lead of 73 runs to the hosts. Australia had declared their first innings at 517/7 on day three.

The off-spinner became only the second spinner in 46 years to take five-wickets in a Test innings at home against India, following Bob Simpson who scalped 5-59 at Sydney back in 1967-68.

He was ably supported by Peter Siddle (2-88) who recovered from a stomach bug yesterday. Mitchell Johnson (2-102) and Ryan Harris (1-55) were the other wicket-takers in this innings, while Mitchell Marsh (0-29), Steve Smith (0-19) and Shane Watson (0-13) were the other bowlers used.

India began this fourth day at their overnight score of 369/5 with Rohit Sharma (33) and Wriddhiman Saha (1) at the crease. Johnson and Harris opened the proceedings for the hosts, but the former wasn't as intimidating in this spell as he was in the last one bowled late on day three. It allowed the two batsmen to settle down a bit, especially Saha, as they got on with the job of scoring runs.

They had managed to put on 32 runs for the sixth wicket, with Rohit looking to attack Lyon when the spinner was introduced into the attack. It didn't work as after getting a boundary in the 108th over, the batsman tried to turn one away for a single but only ended up offering a return catch.

Lyon snapped it up, diving to his right, and then went on to wreak more havoc six overs later. Rohit scored 43 runs off 89 balls, hitting 5 fours.

He snapped up Saha (25 runs, 68 balls, 2 fours) and Ishant (0) in the space of three balls, albeit the former seemed not out as the ball seemed to have missed his inside edge but umpire Ian Gould didn't notice. At the other end, Siddle bowled Karn (4) in his maiden Test innings, even as the 400-run mark came up in the 109th over.

The lead at that time was still near hundred runs, but Shami (34 runs, 23 balls, 3 fours, 1 six) then hit out and scored some quick runs and brought the deficit down to 73 runs.

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