Chennai: India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin snatched his second five-for before Australian debutant Moises Henriques struck his second half-century of the match on a difficult pitch on Monday to take the first Test into the fifth day.
At stumps, Henriques was unbeaten on 75 following his first-innings 68, and his 57-run unfinished last-wicket stand had taken Australia to 232 for nine in the second innings, giving the visitors a slender lead of 40 runs going into the last day.
Earlier on resumption, India ended their first innings at 572, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni stretching his score to 224. Australia made 380 in their first outing.
Henrique and Lyon frustrated the Indian bowlers with their stubborn yet attacking stand after the Indian spinners reduced Australia to 175 for nine. Offspinner Ashwin finished the day with five for 90, while left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja and Harbhajan Singh, playing his 100th Test, got two wickets each.
Henriques and Lyon came together with Australia still needing 17 runs to force India to bat again. They not only averted an innings defeat but also gave a demoralised dressing room hope to fight back in the remaining three Tests.
Henriques struck six fours and two sixes during his 124-ball knock, getting to his fifty with a straight six off Harbhajan.
Australian openers Ed Cowan (32) and Shane Watson (17) looked comfortable to start with as the effect of heavy roller softened the pitch somewhat. Watson was promoted up the order after regular opener David Warner was laid low with a stomach upset.
At the stroke of lunch, Ashwin got one to jump and spin to dismiss Watson, caught by Virender Sehwag at first slip, leaving Australia at 34 for one.
After the lunch break, Cowan (32) and Warner (23) defied for a while, but Ashwin struck again to get rid of Cowan, trapping him lbw. It triggered a middle-order collapse as Australia from 64 for one slumped to 121 for five.
Phil Hughes followed Cowan, unable to cope with a vicious Jadeja delivery that he could only glove to Sehwag.
Harbhajan got Warner leg-before in a classical off-spinner’s style and then bowled wicketkeeper Matthew Wade (8) as the batsman tried to sweep.
Shortly after tea, skipper Michael Clarke began belligerently, but it was too good to last. The first-innings centurion was foxed by Ashwin and was leg-before to one that came in sharply and kept low.
Henriques then waged the grim battle with the tailenders, but again a double strike by Ashwin left them staring an innings defeat. Henriques and Lyon saved the day for Australia.
India, resuming at 515 for eight, added 57 runs in the first hour before their innings was terminated. Dhoni added 18 runs to his overnight 206 before becoming James Pattinson’s (5-95) fifth victim, caught behind hooking.
Dhoni’s stupendous 224 is now the third highest score by a wicket-keeper. Overnight batsman Bhuvneshwar Kumar also made a fighting 38.
Chennai, Feb 25 (IANS) Scoreboard at stumps on the fourth day of the first cricket Test between India and Australia at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here Monday.
Australia 1st innings: 380 all out
India 1st innings (Overnight 515/8)
Murali Vijay b Pattinson 10
Virender Sehwag b Pattinson 2
Cheteshwar Pujara b Pattinson 44
Sachin Tendulkar b Lyon 81
Virat Kohli c Starc b Lyon 107
Mahendra Singh Dhoni c Wade b Pattinson 224
Ravindra Jadeja b Pattinson 16
Ravindra Ashwin b Lyon 3
Harbhajan Singh b Henriques 11
Bhuvaneshwar Kumar c Clarke b Siddle 38
Ishant Sharma not out 4
Extras (b 14, lb 14, w 4) 32
Total (all out in 154.3 overs) 572
Fall of wickets: 1-11 (Vijay, 3.2 overs), 2-12 (Sehwag, 5.2), 3-105 (Pujara, 28.4), 4-196 (Tendulkar, 63.1), 5-324 (Kohli, 89.2), 6-365 (Jadeja, 102.6), 7-372 (Ashwin, 105.4), 8-406 (Harbhajan Singh, 115.2), 9-546 (Dhoni, 146.3)
Bowling: Mitchell Starc 25-3-75-0, James Pattinson 30-6-96-5, Peter Siddle 24.3-5-66-1, Nathan Lyon 47-1-215-3, Moises Henriques 17-4-48-1, Michael Clarke 8-2-25-0, David Warner 3-0-19-0
Australia 2nd innings:
Ed Cowan lbw Ashwin 32
Shane Watson c Sehwag b Ashwin 17
David Warner lbw b Harbhajan Singh 23
Phil Hughes c Sehwag b Jadeja 0
Michael Clarke lbw Ashwin 31
Matthew Wade b Harbhajan Singh 8
Moises Henriques batting 75
Peter Siddle b Jadeja 2
James Pattinson c Sehwag b Ashwin 11
Mitchell Starc c Tendulkar b Ashwin 8
Nathan Lyon batting 8
Extras (b 15, lb 2) 17
Total (9 wickets; 84 overs) 232
Fall of wickets: 1-34 (Watson, 15.6 overs), 2-64 (Cowan, 28.6 ov), 3-65 (Hughes, 29.5), 4-101 (Warner, 38.5), 5-121 (Wade, 44.5), 6-131 (Clarke, 49.3), 7-137 (Siddle, 55.4), 8-161 (Pattinson, 63.1), 9-175 (Starc, 65.5)
Bowling: Ravichandran Ashwin 28-4-90-5, Harbhajan Singh 27-6-55-2, Ravindra Jadeja 26-5-68-2, Ishant Sharma 3-1-2-0