Pujara's puja, God blesses Virat...India just 6 wickets away from historic victory in Adelaide

Adelaide, Dec 9: Australia were precariously placed at 104/4 in their second innings as India took a decisive advantage at the end of the fourth day of the opening cricket Test here on Sunday.At stumps, Shaun Marsh was batting on 31 while Travis Head was on 11 at the other end. The Australians still need 219 runs to win.Star off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and fast bowler Mohammed Shami bagged two wickets each for India.

The Indians were dismissed for 307 runs in their second innings earlier during the day which gave them a formidable lead of 322.

Indian pacer Ishant Sharma was unlucky not to bag a wicket in the very first over of the hosts' second essay when he trapped Aaron Finch leg before. But the Australian opener decided to call for a review which showed that Ishant had overstepped the crease.

But the Indians did not have to rue that missed opportunity for long as Ashwin, Shami and fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah tied down the Australian batsmen with their nagging line, length and movement.

Earlier, the Indians batted steadily to put themselves a somewhat comfortable position before Lyon cleaned up the middle and lower order in quick succession.

Lyon was the pick of the Australian bowlers with figures of 6/122. Fast bowler Mitchell Starc returned figures of 3/40.Resuming at the overnight score of 151/3, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane frustrated the Australian bowlers with their patience and almost flawless technique.The Australian bowlers seemed to be somewhat tired and their fast ones were struggling for pace.The line and length were also all over the place on several occasions which added quite a few extra runs to the Indian total.

The visitors suffered a setback a short while before lunch when Pujara and Rohit Sharma were dismissed by off-spinner Nathan Lyon in quick succession.Pujara, who faced 204 balls for his 71 runs, eventually conceded a soft dismissal when he tried to fend off a Lyon delivery with his pad.But the ball nicked his gloves after hitting the pad before offering an easy catch to Aaron Finch at forward short leg.Rohit lasted for only six balls and scored only one run before falling prey to an excellent catch by Peter Handscomb at silly point.Rahane however, continued to bat on steadily and brought up his half-century in style with a boundary off pacer Josh Hazlewood.Pant showed a tendency to take extra risks, but did enough to ensure that the visitors went into the break without losing another wicket.The visitors lost wickets at regular intervals after lunch.Pant was the first to go. The wicketkeeper-batsman was playing his shots as if he was at a Twenty20 contest.He smashed Lyon for 18 runs in one over when he hit three boundaries and a six off consecutive deliveries.But the Australian off-spinner had his revenge in the very next over when Pant went after a slightly wide delivery only to see the ball loop up for an easy catch on the off-side.The Indian tailenders could not do much.When Rahane fell while attempting to reverse sweep a Lyon delivery, the Indian innings was as good as over.Brief scores:Australia: 235 and 104/4 (Shaun Marsh 31 batting; Ravichandran Ashwin 2 /44, Mohammed Shami 2/15) vs India: 250 and 307 ( Cheteshwar Pujara 71, Ajinkya Rahane 70; Nathan Lyon 6/122).

IANS

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