Henriques Resists As Ashwin Spins India To The Brink Of Victory
India closed day four of the first Test against Australia in Chennai on the brink of victory, only held up by Moises Henriques' second half-century of the match.
Alongside number 10 Nathan Lyon, Henriques hit 75 not out to stretch Australia's lead to 40 when stumps were drawn with India one wicket away from beginning their run chase.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni was finally dismissed for 224 as India made 572 replying to Australia's 380 and they continued to dominate with the ball, reducing Australia to 232 for nine at stumps.
Ravichandran Ashwin finished the day with figures of five for 90 and there was a brace apiece for fellow spinners Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja.
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Starting at their overnight total of 515 for eight, Indian skipper Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar stretched the lead further. Dhoni was on the attack straightaway, hitting two fours and one more six to add to his tally from the previous evening.
The duo added 31 more runs before the double-centurion edged to keeper Matthew Wade in an attempt to hook James Pattinson. He was out for 224 runs, scored off 265 balls, with 24 fours and six sixes, falling just eight short of the all-time wicket-keeper record of 232 by Andy Flower. He did, however, break Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 217 for the highest innings by an Indian captain.
It was the fifth wicket for Pattinson, the young bowler finishing with five for 96. Peter Siddle (1-66) took the final wicket of Bhuvneshwar who scored a fine 38 runs in his first attempt in Test cricket.
Lyon finished with three for 215 and Henriques was the other wicket-taker with one for 48. India were bowled out for 572, with a more than healthy lead of 192, given the way the track was quickly becoming worn.
David Warner had an upset stomach so Shane Watson came out to open the innings with Ed Cowan. They defied the attack for nearly 16 overs, as India opened the bowling with Ashwin and Harbhajan , later bringing in Jadeja, but Watson (17) fell at the stroke of lunch, as the ball bounced a tad more than he anticipated.
After lunch, the floodgates opened as India persisted with their three-pronged spin attack. Cowan (32) was out LBW to Ashwin less than an hour into the session and immediately afterwards, Phil Hughes got a snorter from Jadeja and was out caught for a duck.
From 65 for three, Warner and Michael Clarke added 36 runs before Harbhajan chipped in with a wicket, sending Warner (23) back LBW. The senior spinner then bowled Matthew Wade (8) and Clarke was out LBW to Ashwin 10 runslater, off a ball that did not rise at all, with Australia struggling at 131 for six.
Jadeja accounted for Siddle (2) and Pattinson (11) edged behind to slip off Ashwin as wickets kept tumbling. Mitchell Starc (8) skied one to Sachin Tendulkar to give the Chennai off-spinner his 12th wicket of the match, and his second best Test match figures.
Jadeja finished with two for 68 and Harbhajan took two for 55, as Dhoni used Ishant Sharma for only two overs. Bhuvneshwar wasn’t even given a bowl.
Even so, they would have liked another wicket, as Henriques, unbeaten on 75, defied them for nearly 19 overs in the company of Lyon (8 not out). They added 57 runs for the final wicket, making sure India will have to come back on the final day, take the 10th wicket and knock off 40-plus runs for victory.
Henriques on Australia’s misery and his Test debut: "I am very satisfied with my Test debut. And I have to pinch myself to believe that I am playing at this level with greats like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, MS Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Michael Clarke.
"Australia aren’t beaten yet. Tomorrow we will come back and keep batting, without thinking of setting a target. Then we will bowl at India on this wearing track and we will fight.
"The pitch is good for Test cricket because it is a world sport and playing in different conditions is a fantastic experience.’
Jadeja on India's great day: "The pitch is very good. In India you find such type of wickets only, which help spinners. It was spinning a lot, sometime spinning too much. We needed to control that.
"We need to come back tomorrow and take the last wicket and score some runs. Australian batsmen are aggressive and if you keep them quiet for a while, they will attack you. So it gives you a chance."
© Cricket World 2013
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