(Reuters) – India were 105 for two in their second innings, chasing an improbable 364 for victory, at lunch on the fifth day of the first test against Australia at Adelaide Oval last night.
Opener Murali Vijay was unbeaten on 47 while Virat Kohli was not out 25 after the Indians lost Shikhar Dhawan and Cheteshwar Pujara in the morning session.
With the pitch starting to take turn, the odds of an Indian victory seem remote and their best hope may be to salvage a draw.
The only time a team has scored more than 300 runs in the fourth innings to win a test in Adelaide was in 1902.
As expected, the Australians did not resume their second innings last night, with captain Michael Clarke declaring on their overnight score of 290-5.
Steven Smith remained not out on 52 while Brad Haddin was unbeaten on 14, leaving the Australians a minimum of 98 overs to bowl out the visitors.
The home team got a lucky break when Dhawan was given out for nine in the fifth over of the morning, caught down the legside by wicketkeeper Haddin off Mitchell Johnson.
Television replays showed the ball came off Dhawan’s shoulder but because India refuses to allow the use of DRS — the video review system used by all other cricket countries — Dhawan was unable to ask for a reprieve.
The Australians got a second wicket with the total on 57 when offspinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Pujara for 21, deceiving the batsman with a ball that stayed straight and found the thinnest of edges.
While self-preservation was the first priority for Vijay and Kohli, the pair kept the scoreboard ticking along with some controlled aggression.
Vijay reached the interval three runs short of his second half-century of the match after a patient 121-ball knock that featured three fours and a six.
Kohli, who scored a hundred in India’s first innings, also picked up three boundaries to get to 25 off 37 deliveries, setting up an exciting end to a match that began emotions high after the death of Australian batsman Phillip Hughes late last month.
Yesterday, Red-hot opening batsman David Warner punished a wasteful India with his second century of the first test as Australia seized control of the match at the close of play on day four.
The combative left-hander, who scored an emotional 145 in the first innings, added another 102 to help fire Australia to a 363-run lead at a sun-drenched Adelaide Oval.
Smith added a half-century to his own first innings ton to push the hosts to 290-5.
Warner gazed at the sky in tribute to batsman Phillip Hughes during his first innings knock and repeated the gesture on Friday after raising his sixth hundred in his last 11 test innings.
Two of those hundreds also came in the same test on tour against South Africa earlier in the year.
Hughes, who died two weeks ago after being hit by a ball during a domestic match, famously became the youngest player to score two centuries in a match when he achieved the feat against South Africa in Durban in his second test in 2009.
“Definitely it was in the back of my mind,” Warner said of Hughes’ record. “He was giving me some luck out there today, which is fortunate enough for myself.”
Warner got himself out attempting a frivolous reverse sweep and was bowled by legspinner Karn Sharma as the Australians picked up the tempo in the last session.
Mitchell Marsh smashed 24 runs, including three sixes, off one over from Sharma but chanced his arm once too often to be caught slogging in the deep after a cavalier 40 off 26 balls.
Injured captain Michael Clarke could not repeat his first innings heroics when he scored 128 despite a painful back strain and was caught behind for seven off the bowling of Varun Aaron.
WAR OF WORDS
Warner was reprieved on 66 when Aaron bowled him only to be recalled when television replays showed the paceman overstepping the crease on his delivery.
A match that had proceeded in good spirit suddenly became tetchy. Aaron gave Warner a big send-off after rattling his stumps and the Australian retaliated after his let-off.
Umpires Marais Erasmus and Ian Gould intervened to stop the opposing players from arguing and had to do so again after Smith and Rohit Sharma exchanged words following a hopeful lbw appeal after tea, which also fired up India captain Virat Kohli.
Warner also survived a big shout for caught behind off Aaron’s bowling and was dropped in the gully when on 89 off Mohammed Shami.
Earlier in the day, India were bowled out for 444, with Australia spinner Nathan Lyon finishing with 5-134.
“He was hitting it (the rough) virtually every delivery,” Warner said of the bowler’s encouraging performance. “That’s going to be the key for us.”
A former groundsman at Adelaide Oval, Lyon captured three early wickets as India, who resumed on 369-5, lost their last five wickets for just 45 runs.
The highest victorious run-chase in Adelaide was Australia’s 315-6 against England in 1902, though the hosts will remember ruefully how South Africa managed to bat through an entire fifth day with only six wickets in hand to save the match in 2012.
Australia Australia 1st innings 517 for 7 decl (S. Smith 162no,
D. Warner 145,
M. Clarke 128)
India 1st innings 444
(V. Kohli 115, C. Pujara 73,
A. Rahane 62, M. Vijay 53;
N. Lyon 5-134) Australia
2nd innings (Overnight: 290-5)
C. Rogers c Ro. Sharma b K. Sharma 21
D. Warner b K. Sharma 102
S. Watson b Shami 33
M. Clarke c Saha b Aaron 7
S. Smith not out 52
M. Marsh c Vijay b Ro. Sharma 40
B. Haddin not out 14
Extras (b-1 lb-6 nb-9 w-5)
Total (for 5 wickets declared, 69 overs) 290
Fall of wickets: 1-38 C. Rogers,2-140 S. Watson,3-168 M. Clarke,4-213 D. Warner,5-266 M. Marsh
Did not bat: P. Siddle, M. Johnson, R. Harris, N. Lyon
Bowling M. Shami 11 – 2 – 42 – 1 I. Sharma 14 – 3 – 41 – 0(nb-6) K. Sharma 16 – 2 – 95 – 2 M. Vijay 6 – 0 – 27 – 0 Ro. Sharma 12 – 2 – 35 – 1 V. Aaron 10 – 0 – 43 – 1(nb-2 w-1)
India 2nd innings (Target: 364 runs)
S. Dhawan c Haddin b Johnson 9
M. Vijay not out 47
C. Pujara c Haddin b Lyon
V. Kohli not out 25
Extras (lb-2 w-1) 3
Total (for 2 wickets, 34 overs) 105
Fall of wickets: 1-16 S. Dhawan,2-57
To bat: A. Rahane, R. Sharma, W. Saha, K. Sharma, M. Shami, I. Sharma, V. Aaron Bowling M. Johnson 7 – 1 – 12 – 1(w-1) R. Harris 7 – 3 – 24 – 0 N. Lyon 12 – 2 – 48 – 1 P. Siddle 5 – 2 – 11 – 0 S. Watson 2 – 0 – 6 – 0 S. Smith 1 – 0 – 2 – 0 Referees Umpire: Marais Erasmus
Umpire: Ian Gould
TV umpire: Mick Martell
Match referee: Jeff Crowe