Chasing 216 for win, India 55 for 4 in Mohali test


Mohali (Punjab): Chasing 216 for a win, India were tottering on 55 for the loss of four wickets on the fourth day of their first test match against Australia at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium here Monday.

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India, who had conceded a 23-run first innings lead, bundled out the visitors for just 192 runs in their second innings with fast bowler Ishant Sharma engineering the visitors’ collapse in the second half of the pre-lunch session, getting three top wickets.

India started their second innings on a disastrous note losing Gautam Gambhir (0), Virender Sehwag (17), Rahul Dravid (13) and Suresh Raina (0) before close of play.

Three of these wickets were picked up by Ben Hilfenhaus while another was claimed by Doug Bollinger.

Sachin Tendulkar, batting on 10 runs, remained India’s main hope to salvage the situation. Zaheer Khan was five not out at the other end.

With middle-order batsman VVS Laxman still on the injured list, owing to a sore back, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the only recognized Indian batsman yet to come.

India need another 161 runs for a win Tuesday, the last day of the match.

Fourteen wickets fell Monday with fortunes of both teams fluctuating.

While Ishant Sharma picked up three top wickets within a span of eight balls, speedster Zaheer Khan also bagged three wickets. Spinners Harbhajan Singh and Pragyan Ojha got two wickets each in the post-lunch session.

Shane Watson (56), Simon Katich (37) and Michael Hussey (28) were the only batsmen to show some resistance to the Indian bowling. The only other batsman to get into double figures was Marcus North (10).

Watson gave a good start to the Australian innings Monday morning, smashing 56 runs off 59 balls (7 fours, one six). At one stage, Australia was cruising at 87 runs without any loss.

However, they wound up with the innings lasting only 60.5 overs.

Australia scored 428 runs in the first innings. India replied with 405 runs.

Sharma, who bowled only 11.4 overs in the first innings owing to an injury, had impressive figures of 3/34 Monday.

However, his string of no balls continued. He bowled five more Monday, taking his no-ball tally to 15 so far in the match.

Watson was the first go, dragging the ball on to the stumps in an attempt to pull Sharma. Skipper Ricky Ponting (4) did not last long as he gave a catch to Suresh Raina off Sharma’s bowling.

Australian vice captain Michael Clarke (4) also fell trying to save himself from an awkwardly rising Sharma delivery. The ball hit his glove and the shoulder, ballooning into an easy catch for wicketkeeper Dhoni.