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India on brink of an easy win: Chennai Test, Day 4

Related Links: Australia Tour of India 2012/13 | India Vs Australia – 1st Test Scorecard

India are on the brink of an easy victory which is expected to be wrapped up in the morning session on Day 5 thanks to an Aussie batting collapse on a square turning pitch at Chennai. The visitors are having just the one wicket in hand and an overall lead of 40 runs. It would have been an innings victory for Team India when they had the Aussies down and out at 175 for 9 having taken a first innings lead of 192 runs. However, the last wicket pair of debutant Moises Henriques and Nathan Lyon survived nearly 18 overs and in the process added 57 runs to help Australia avoid a possible innings defeat!

Day four saw the Indians bat out for about an hour before getting bowled out for a massive total of 572 in 154.3 overs. Skipper MS Dhoni finished with 224 to his name (facing 265 balls while striking 24 fours and 6 sixes). James Pattinson got his wicket by forcing him to glove a hook shot to the keeper to end what was a 9th wicket stand of 140. Bhuvneshwar Kumar went onto score 38 from 97 balls before he was the last man out caught at mid off, pushing a slower one from Siddle slightly early.

Australia facing a second innings deficit of 192 runs lost Shane Watson by lunch time, caught edging a bouncing top spinner from Ashwin to slip with 34 runs on the board. Watson opened the batting ahead of Warner but could only score 17. After lunch, India made quick inroads with Ed Cowan (32) lbw to an Ashwin delivery which trapped him infront of middle after straightening. Ravindra Jadeja produced an unplayable delivery landing on the edge of the rough and kicking up like a nasty bouncer to force left-handed Phil Hughes (0) to glove it to slip. The big wicket of David Warner (23) followed with Harbhajan Singh tossing up a drifter and trapping him lbw infront of middle. The Turbanator struck again when an under pressure Matthew Wade employed a predetermined slog sweep which he failed to connect and had his off stump pegged back by an arm ball.

The visitors were in a deep hole at 128 for 5 at Tea time, the worse was to follow on the other side of the break. Skipper Michael Clarke’s counter attack tactics proved fatal as he got lbw to Ashwin in the first over after the break. Batting on 31, Clarke rocked back for a square cut but the widish off break spun in a mile with extreme low bounce to strike the backpad plumb infront of off and middle for an lbw. Without wasting much time, India got rid of the three Australian fast bowlers – Siddle (bowled in an attempted slog off Jadeja), Pattinson (edging a late cut off Ashwin to slip) and Starc becoming the fifth scalp of Ashwin after his lofted shot was miscued to long on.

The match was set to finish when no.11 Nathan Lyon joined Moises Henriques. The pitch was too slow and the ball had gone too soft. India struggled to get anything off the track in the next 15 overs or so before the second new ball was taken. By then Henriques had played all his shots to build some lead for the Aussies while Lyon was correct in defence. When the second new ball was taken, both the right handers were well settled and India couldn’t get them out before stumps. Henriques helped himself to a second fifty of the match on Test debut, and remained unbeaten on 75 to take the Aussies to 232 for 9.