Australia batsmen find themselves under a bit of pressure going into the fourth day’s play with the lead being only a slender 23 runs! On a pitch, where the cracks are expected to widen, India will be the favourites to win the match should Harbhajan and Pragyan Ojha get the ball to turn sharply. The match was nicely set up by the half centuries from Rahul Dravid (77), Sachin Tendulkar (98) and Suresh Raina (86).
The hosts got off to a good start with night watchman Ishant Sharma (18 from 56 balls) hanging in there for more than an hour to add up 45 runs with Dravid. India was well placed at 191 for 3 in 49 overs at Lunch with Dravid steering through with Sachin Tendulkar. Dravid after doing all the hard work threw his wicket away after poking at a widish away swinger from Bollinger to end a fourth wicket stand of 124.
India was gifted with another good partnership with Suresh Raina doing a splendid job with Tendulkar. Both batsmen took India to 280 for 4 in 77 overs at Tea and an hour after that got the team past 350. Just when Sachin Tendulkar (98 from 189 balls with 13 fours) was inching towards a century, came a quicker one from Marcus North which defeated an arrogant flick shot across the line to have the master plumb in front.
There were more wickets to go down after Tendulkar’s exit with Mitchell Johnson removing MS Dhoni (controversially given caught at slip though it wasn’t a clean catch) and Harbhajan Singh (caught edging behind) in consecutive deliveries. Zaheer Khan was bowled after missing a heave off Nathan Hauritz and soon Suresh Raina after scoring 86 from 128 balls (with 14 fours) got lbw to a short ball from Johnson that stayed low. Hauritz wrapped up the innings and the third day’s play by forcing Laxman to edge a straighter one to slip.
For the Aussies, Mitchell Johnson claimed his 6th five-wicket haul to finish with figures of 20-5-64-5.