Opener David Warner extended his purple patch with the bat by cracking his second century of the match as the first cricket Test against India headed for an exciting finish with Australia gaining an overall lead of 363 runs runs here today.
The 28-year-old Warner then followed up his first innings hundred with another ton in the second, giving Australia command of proceedings. Warner made 102 off 166 balls and his knock was studded with 11 fours and a six.
At stumps on the fourth day at Adelaide Oval, Australia were 290 for five with Steven Smith and Brad Haddin batting on 52 and 14 respectively. The hosts may declare the innings early tomorrow leaving Virat Kohli-led India with the task of batting out the fifth day to save the match
In the morning session, spinner Nathan Lyon took his sixth five-wicket haul in Test cricket as India collapsed to be bowled out for 444 runs in their first innings after resuming at 369 for five.
Warner, who had crossed the 1000-run landmark in the calendar year before lunch, consolidated Australia’s position by adding 102 runs for the second wicket with Shane Watson (33), who was bowled by Mohammed Shami.
Warner also provided some spice to the day’s proceedings when he got involved in an altercation with Varun Aaron as the batsman was called back by the umpire after being bowled off a no-ball by the Indian pacer.
Tempers flared up as a result with Aaron, Warner, Shane Watson and Shikhar Dhawan getting involved, and the umpires had to step in to resolve the situation.
Even as Warner left the incident behind to score his 11 Test hunderd, skipper Michael Clarke, who had battled back pain to himself score a century in the first innings, did not last long in the team’s second essay though as he was caught behind by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha off Varun Aaron.
However, the wicket that India desperately wanted to have in their bag came when Warner was bowled while trying to reverse sweep debutant leg-spinner Karn Sharma.
The big scalp though did not peg Australia back as the hosts continued to score quick runs with another first-innings centurion Smith and Mitchell Marsh (40) dominating the Indian attack.
Marsh smashed four boundaries and three sixes during his entertaining innings that came off just 26 balls. Smith struck five fours in his unbeaten knock.
In scoring his century, Warner became only the fifth batsman after Clyde Walcott (1955), Sunil Gavaskar (1978), Aravinda de Silva (1997) and Ricky Ponting (2006) to score twin Test hundreds in the same calendar year on two occasions.
Indian bowlers however produced a good display after the tea-break. They bowled with control unseen before in this match so far and made sure that Australia weren’t in a position to declare this evening itself. Much credit for that goes to Shami (1-42) and Aaron (1-43) for using the reversing ball to good effect, after the two bowlers had been nearly kept away from the attack in the post-lunch session.
Shami, who didn’t bowl at all in the second session of the day, struck immediately after tea to remove Watson.
Warner, batting on 70 then, got a second life after he gloved the ball down to the keeper off Aaron in the 40th over but the umpire failed to notice it. Seven overs later, he was dropped on 89 by Murali Vijay (0-27) in the slips off Shami.
There were a few heated moments exchanged between the two sets of players in this aftermath. But things settled down and finally, Warner got to his ton in the 54th over, after facing 154 balls, hitting 11 fours as well as one six.
He was finally dismissed by Karn (2-95). In between, Clarke (7) had been dismissed cheaply off Aaron.
Smith and Marsh then came together and bludgeoned the Indian bowling. The latter was severe on the leg-spinner, smacking 24 runs off the 64th over, as Australia galloped past the 250-run mark and brought up the 300-lead as well.
The two batsmen put on 53 runs for the fifth wicket in 5.3 overs, setting up their side for an early declaration on the final day and push for a result.
Earlier, Warner and Chris Rogers resumed after lunch, looking to frustrate the Indians further. But that didn’t work out for long as Karn got an early breakthrough, dismissing Rogers in only the third over after the re-start.
The Indian team’s plan was to use medium pace from only one end and to this effect Ishant Sharma (0-41) toiled hard. But the combination of Karn-Ishant and Vijay couldn’t bring about the desired effect and even Rohit was introduced later on in the session.
The 100-run mark then came up in the 27th over. Aaron bowled for the first time in the second innings in only the 32nd over. He bowled four eventful overs, and was nearly successful in his second one â€“ the 34th of the innings â€“ when he bowled Warner with the batsman on 66 at that time. But the umpire ruled it a no-ball giving a second chance to the opener, his first of three lives eventually.
Earlier, Lyon Lyon took 5-134 as the visitors lost five wickets for just 75 runs in the morning session and surrendered a lead of 73 runs to the hosts. Australia had declared their first innings at 517/7 on day three.
The off-spinner became only the second spinner in 46 years to take five-wickets in a Test innings at home against India, following Bob Simpson who scalped 5-59 at Sydney back in 1967-68. He was ably supported by Peter Siddle (2-88) who recovered from a stomach bug yesterday. Mitchell Johnson (2-102) and Ryan Harris (1-55) were the other wicket-takers in this innings, while Marsh (0-29), Smith (0-19) and Watson (0-13) were the other bowlers used.
India began the fourth day at their overnight score of 369/5 with Rohit Sharma (33) and Saha (1) at the crease.
Johnson and Harris opened the proceedings for the hosts, but the former wasn’t as intimidating in this spell as he was in the last one bowled late on day three. It allowed the two batsmen to settle down a bit, especially Saha, as they got on with the job of scoring runs.
They had managed to put on 32 runs for the sixth wicket, with Rohit looking to attack Lyon when the spinner was introduced into the attack. It didn’t work as after getting a boundary in the 108th over, the batsman tried to turn one away for a single but only ended up offering a return catch. Lyon snapped it up, diving to his right, and then went on to wreak more havoc six overs later. Rohit scored 43 runs off 89 balls, hitting five fours.
He snapped up Saha (25) and Ishant (0) in the space of three balls, though the former looked not out as the ball seemed to have missed his inside edge but umpire Ian Gould didn’t notice. At the other end, Siddle bowled Karn (4) in his maiden Test innings, even as the 400-run mark came up in the 109th over.
The lead at that time was still near 100 runs, but Shami (34) then hit out and scored some quick runs and brought the deficit down to 73.