Dharamsala: India wrested control of the fourth and final Test by dismissing half the Australian side, including their in-form skipper Steven Smith, on day three in Dharamsala on Monday.
Australia were 92/5 at the tea break in their second innings, leading the hosts by 60 runs.
Glenn Maxwell (37 off 48 balls) and Peter Handscomb (18) showed positive intent with a 56-run partnership for the fourth wicket before their downfall put the hosts firmly on course for a series-clinching win.
India scored 332 in their first innings courtesy Ravindra Jadeja’s 63, taking a 32-run first innings lead in the process.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who till the post-lunch session had a horrible Test match, for once got lucky when Smith tried to pull a short delivery only to get a bottom edge that knocked back his off-stump.
While he was at the crease, Smith looked in ominous touch, having hit three boundaries for his 17 before his dismissal left him one short of a series aggregate of 500 runs.
It was Umesh Yadav (2/22 in six overs), India’s best fast bowler in recent times, who looked menacing on a bouncy pitch troubling both the openers.
After a few bouncers, Umesh cleverly pitched it up to get enough away movement to kiss David Warner's (6) bat on way to the safe hands of wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
Renshaw (8) survived a drop at third slip when the thick edge off a Bhuvneshwar delivery was grassed by Karun Nair standing at third slip.
But Renshaw didn’t last long as Umesh got one to rear up and deviate enough, forcing the big southpaw give Saha his second catch of the innings.
Maxwell however was in a mood to counter-attack as he hit debutant Kuldeep Yadav for a six over long-on. He scored runs quickly, smashing five fours and a six in the process.
Handscomb played an even better shot — inside out cover drive off Kuldeep, but Ashwin got him with one that bounced sharply and the edge flew to skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who again showed his brilliance in the slip cordon.
Shaun Marsh (1) became Ravindra Jadeja’s first victim as he got one to land on the crack and it jumped to hit batsman’s gloves to Cheteshwar Pujara at forward short leg.
Earlier, Ravindra Jadeja’s stroke-filled half-century enabled India to get the all-important lead.
Jadeja (63 off 95 balls) reached his seventh half-century in Tests with the help of four boundaries and four sixes.
The seventh-wicket partnership of 96 runs in 30 overs with Saha (31) could very well prove to be the turning point on this Dharamsala track.
For Australia, Nathan Lyon (5/98) had a five-wicket haul. Saha, on his part again showed steely temperament despite another testing morning spell by Pat Cummins (3/94) and Josh Hazlewood (1/51).
Jadeja was adjudged caught-behind off the very first ball of the third morning bowled by Cummins, but he promptly used DRS to get a favourable decision after the TV replays confirmed that there was no edge.
He also got stuck by a snorter from Cummins that hit him on the helmet, but the feisty cricketer didn’t show any discomfort.
His best shot off the morning was a picture perfect straight drive off Cummins that raced through grass blades.
The moment, Lyon flighted one, he jumped out to loft him effortlessly over long-off for his third six. He also had a streaky boundary off Lyon past the slip cordon.
While Saha dabbed around for singles and occasional doubles, Jadeja took risks at will.
A quick single brought up his 50 and there was customary sword-wielding celebration from the man. In fact, Jadeja joined Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay among others, who have surpassed 50 six times in the current season. He also became the second Indian cricketer after Kapil Dev to achieve the double of 500 runs and 50 wickets in a season.
He was not afraid of the short pitched stuff bowled by Cummins as he pulled him to deep mid-wicket for a boundary and then for good measure hooked him behind square for his fourth six.
Cummins had the last laugh when he played on trying to smash a fullish delivery. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s (0) was Steve O’Keefe got his first victim of the match.
Cummins then got Saha with an unplayable delivery that climbed big on him as he tried to awkwardly fend it. The ball popped up off his gloves and Steve Smith backpedalled and timed his jump to perfection to take a spectacular catch.
For the record, both Jadeja and Saha completed their individual 1,000 runs in Test cricket.
Updated Date: Mar 27, 2017 15:31 PM