Australia lead India by 79 runs in Kotla thriller (Lunch Report)

New Delhi, March 24: The Australian batting faltered on an exploding track at the Ferozeshah Kotla and the visitors were left struggling at 89 for five in the second innings against India on day three of the fourth Test here Sunday.

Steve Smith was batting on 17 and Matthew Wade 16 and they had added 36 runs for the unfinished sixth-wicket stand that stretched Australia’s lead to 79 runs. Ed Cowan was the top scorer so far with 24.

In all, seven wickets fell in 125 balls for 95 runs in the first session as the demon in the Kotla track reared its ugly head. The cracks were wide open and every time a ball landed on them it left both the batsmen and the fielders clueless.

The remainder of the Indian innings lasted just 13 deliveries Sunday morning and they were bowled out for 272 runs in the first innings. Offie Nathan Lyon finished with career best 7/94 and wrapped up the tail by removing Ishant Sharma and Pragyan Ojha in consecutive deliveries.

There was more drama as Australia came out to bat. After two overs of pace from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was quick to unleash the spinners on the Australian batting from both ends.

Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja was pick of the bowlers, claiming three wickets, while Pragyan Ojha and Ravichandran Ashwin got wicket a piece.

The Australian batsmen struggled to negotiate the Indian spinners as the ball kept low. Glenn Maxwell was promoted up the order to open the innings with David Warner.

Jadeja opened his account with Maxwell (8) and tempers flayed when he got rid of Warner (8) in his next over.

Jadeja broke into wild celebrations even before the umpire had given Warner out. Jadeja signalled Warner the way back to the pavilion. After the send-off, umpire Aleem Dar, who was standing at square leg, cautioned Jadeja. Dar then called Tendulkar, who in return spoke to Jadeja.

Phil Hughes (6) was the next to go, trapped in front by Ashwin with a delivery that kept low. Shane Watson (5) was also unlucky after he was castled by Ojha with a delivery that also stayed low.

Cowan became Jadeja’s third victim before Smith and Wade joined forces to repair the innings.

IANS