(Reuters) – Australia’s opening batsmen Chris Rogers and David Warner survived to lunch last night to push Australia’s second innings lead to 105 runs after India were bowled out for 444 early on day four of the first test in Adelaide.
India resumed on 369-5 but lost their last five wickets for the addition of only 75 runs, with Australia spinner Nathan Lyon capturing 5-134.
Rogers (19 not out) and Warner (13 not out) pushed Australia to 32-0 at the break and the lefthanders were mostly comfortable in the 10 overs they faced on Adelaide Oval’s largely benign wicket.
Rogers, however, was lucky to escape with wicket intact after a big shout for lbw and a nick just wide of a slip in the final over off part-time spinner Murali Vijay.
Though the deteriorating wicket was showing a bit more variation, the Australians will feel confident of building a total to push victory beyond reach of the tourists.
Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and Rohit Sharma resumed for India and added 30 runs before Lyon caught the latter off his own bowling for 43.
Peter Siddle dropped Mohammed Shami when the batsman was on nine, spilling the catch a few feet in from the boundary when he slogged Lyon to deep midwicket.
Shami went on to lash a valuable 34 before he was caught behind off Siddle, with Shane Watson taking a fine, low catch in the slips to bring the innings to a close.
After Siddle’s spilled catch, which had the ball bonk him on the forehead before dribbling to the rope for four, Lyon captured his fourth wicket minutes later.
It was somewhat fortuitous, however, when Saha was given out caught behind by Shane Watson at slip, although there appeared to be no edge off the bat.
Saha looked miffed at the decision, but India’s rejection of the Decision Review System gave him no recourse to appeal.
Lyon grabbed his fifth wicket by dismissing Ishant Sharma for a duck when the paceman gloved a simple catch to Steven Smith at short leg.
Yesterday, Captain Virat Kohli scored a rousing century after being struck on the head with a bouncer to guide India past the follow-on mark on day three of the first test against Australia in Adelaide on Thursday.
Standing in for injured regular skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Kohli’s 115 helped push the tourists within 148 runs of Australia’s first innings total of 517-7, with the hosts declaring before the start of play at Adelaide Oval.
Paceman Mitchell Johnson struck Kohli on the helmet first ball and ended up dismissing him late in the day when the batsman miscued a pull shot to deep fine leg where Ryan Harris charged in to take a fine, low catch.
Having been largely dominated on the field, Kohli’s wicket left the test evenly poised, according to Australia spinner Lyon, who bowled well for his two wickets.
“It’s pretty even-stevens, really,” he told state radio ABC.
“They batted well but they’re still five down and we’ve still got a lead of 140 or so. So if we come out and bowl well tomorrow, hopefully we can get a good solid lead.”
Lyon removed Ajinkya Rahane for 62 in the last session for his second wicket but all of India’s top order batsmen made positive starts on a day of bright sunshine.
Only 26-year-old Kohli really cashed in, however.
He was hit first ball by a searing bouncer from Johnson which struck him flush on the badge of his helmet, but he responded by spanking the paceman to all corners of the ground in the final session before eventually holing out.
With the death of Phillip Hughes from a bouncer still fresh in all minds, the Australians rushed to the batsman out of concern and Clarke consoled Johnson as he walked back to his mark visibly distressed.
Kohli brought up his ton with a well-struck four steered through midwicket and after ripping off his helmet, yelled “Come on!” at the India team box, eyes blazing.
Lyon broke a 101-run partnership between Kohli and Rahane with an unplayable ball that reared out of a rough patch and pinged off the middle order batsman’s glove to fall to Shane Watson at slip.
Lyon also ended an 81-run stand between Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara with a ball that dribbled through the number three’s legs and onto the stumps.
Left-armer Johnson was punished for some wayward bowling but teased a nick from opener Murali Vijay into the slips to have him out for 53 just before lunch.
Seamer Ryan Harris, back in the side after a long recovery following knee surgery, bowled opener Shikhar Dhawan who had raced to 25 before edging onto the stumps.
Australia captain Michael Clarke took to the field after battling through back pain to score his courageous 128 on day two, but was clearly restricted in his movement and sluggish to chase down balls.