India bats and bowls Australia all but out of first Test on day four in Adelaide
Australia’s hopes of victory in the first Test are looking slim, still needing 219 runs to win with only six wickets in hand.
Eleven wickets fell on day four at the Adelaide Oval as Nathan Lyon (6-122) wrapped up India’s innings, but not before the tourists built a 322-run lead.
Australia lost four wickets as it tried to chase the record-breaking total and only managed 104 runs in the process, leaving Shaun Marsh (31) and Travis Head (11) with an enormous job to do on Monday morning.
Staring down the barrel of what would be the biggest chase to win an Adelaide Test, Australia needed a strong start from its new opening partnership if it was to stand any chance, but it looked like it was over almost immediately yet again when Aaron Finch was given out LBW to Ishant Sharma off the second ball of the innings.
It was overturned when a review found Sharma had bowled a front-foot no ball, giving Finch a second life.
While that review worked wonders for him, he strangely opted not to use one in the 12th over when he was given out caught behind off the off spin of Ravi Ashwin.
He had a conversation with batting partner Marcus Harris during which he seemed sure he had not touched it with his bat or glove, and replays backed him up, but he had already trudged off with another disappointing Test score of 11.
Debutant Harris once again looked confident and aggressive, but he was caught behind thanks to a loose shot from Mohammed Shami’s nagging off-side bowling to leave Australia 2-44.
Once again, Usman Khawaja looked set to bat long but lost his wicket when he tried to be overly aggressive against Ashwin, only to miscue and be caught at deep cover by Sharma.
Peter Handscomb’s dig lasted 42 balls before he mistimed a pull shot and was caught out, bringing Head and Marsh together.
They made it through to stumps and a lot rests on the shoulders of the final specialist batsmen in the line-up on the final day of the first Test.
Lyon’s six-wicket haul was the only thing keeping India from an astronomical second-innings score. (AP: James Elsby)
The mountain could have been even higher if not for Lyon, who was the only bowler to regularly threaten India’s batsmen after they started the day on 3-166.
Cheteshwar Pujara (71) once again top-scored for India but fell short of a second ton for the match, while Ajinkya Rahane (70) only lost his wicket when he appeared to lose faith in the tail-enders around him and attempted a reverse-sweep.
Lyon was the key bowler for Australia, taking six wickets in his 42 overs, largely through peppering the rough patch just outside off stump and relying on balls popping up off the pads and big loose slogs to the outfield.
India was on the verge of batting Australia out of the match. It reached 300 with four wickets in hand but, in a display of their confidence of bowling out this Aussie side quickly, seemed intent on piling on quick runs and instead lost wickets in a flurry — with the last four falling for just four runs.
Lyon reaped the benefits, picking up Rishabh Pant, Rahane and Shami, while a seemingly struggling Mitchell Starc’s figures (3-40) improved with the wickets of Ashwin and Sharma.