Nathan Lyon continued bowling an impressive brand of offspin to earn Australia not only a handy first-innings lead of 73 but also enough time to build a target and have a second crack at India in Adelaide. Lyon claimed three of the five wickets to fall on the fourth morning – Peter Siddle took the other two – to complete his sixth five-wicket haul as India were dismissed with just under an hour to go before lunch.
Australia’s openers David Warner and Chris Rogers extended the advantage to 105 before the break. Their pace was not as frenetic – 60 runs had come off the first ten overs in the first innings, only 32 today – but that was due to a tougher pitch as much as a fuller length and straighter line from India’s fast bowlers. Thanks to Lyon, however, Australia were well placed to push towards a lead of around 300 and send India for an awkward period just before stumps, or first thing tomorrow morning.
Resuming on 5 for 369, Rohit Sharma and Wriddhiman Saha had survived opening spells from Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson without much trouble. The bowlers’ lines and lengths were tight – largely wicket-to-wicket – and did not allow for shot making, but the batsmen were content to leave and defend.
Michael Clarke made his bowling changes just after the first half hour and wickets came quickly. Rohit had just stepped out to loft Lyon for a boundary over mid-on, but when he advanced again next ball he wasn’t to the pitch of it and chipped a return catch to the bowler. India were 6 for 399 with their tail exposed.
Siddle had been unwell and expensive on the first day but his pace was up on Friday and he quickly breached the debutant Karn Sharma’s defences to hit middle stump. Had Siddle not dropped Mohammed Shami off Lyon on the deep midwicket boundary, India’s innings would have had a quicker end but the ball burst through his hands and went for four.
Though he had Saha for company, Shami slogged with abandon. His initial approach was questionable, but it brought valuable runs after Saha’s dismissal. Saha was caught at slip off bat and pad but replays and snicko were inconclusive. Two balls later Lyon had Ishant held at bat-pad to complete his five-for.
India’s last wicket added 22 runs – Varun Aaron’s contribution was 3 – as Shami swung between deep square leg and long-on. Siddle eventually found the toe end of his bat, and Shane Watson took a low catch at first slip to end the innings.
The key for India will be to slow Australia down, a task that will get progressively harder as batsmen settle against an attack that has only a debutant for a specialist spinner on a wearing surface.
Lunch Australia 7 for 517 dec and 0 for 32 (Rogers 19*, Warner 13*) lead India 444 (Kohli 115, Lyon 5-134) by 105 runs.