Ashwin brings win near
Ravichandran Ashwin’s second five-for of the game put India on course for victory but Australia ensured the first Test would enter a fifth day with some defiant late batting in Chennai.
India’s premier spinner earned his second Test 10-wicket haul as he formed a potent slow-bowling trio with Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja, who together delivered all but three of the 84 second-innings overs.
Having finally bowled their hosts out for 572 on the fourth morning with Mahendra Singh Dhoni adding 18 to yesterday’s blistering 206, Michael Clarke's men had set about wiping out a 192-run deficit but were staring at an innings defeat as Ashwin steadily made his way through the order.
However, Test debutant Moises Henriques’ second fifty of the game and an unbroken last-wicket stand of 57 with Nathan Lyon saw Australia into credit. At stumps the tourists were 232 for nine, a lead of 40, with Henriques 75 not out.
India resumed on 515 for eight and put on 57 more this morning before being bowled out for a daunting lead.
James Pattinson had Dhoni caught behind to deny him the highest score by a Test wicketkeeper, a record Andy Flower holds with 232.
If Australia thought their work in the field was done, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma had other ideas in adding 26 more for the last wicket. Peter Siddle’s slower ball eventually snared Test debutant Bhuvneshwar for 38.
The hosts faced a tough challenge on a pitch that had started to turn and were given a further obstacle when David Warner was deemed too ill to open. Shane Watson returned to his old position as he and Ed Cowan were immediately confronted by spin at both ends.
The ball was doing plenty but Australia looked like they might survive to the break unscathed until Ashwin, with the final ball of the morning, had Watson held at slip.
Warner took to the crease after lunch, but things did not improve for Australia with Cowan going lbw to Ashwin for 32 and Jadeja having Phil Hughes caught at slip for nought.
Warner was clearly feeling the effects of his illness and was trapped in front by Harbhajan for 23. The off-spinner struck again soon after as Matthew Wade paid for failing to connect with a sweep.
Clarke, again resisting after his first-innings 130, went lbw to Ashwin for 31 in the over after tea.
Siddle was then bowled by Jadeja before Ashwin had James Pattinson held at slip - Virender Sehwag taking his third catch there - and the spinner’s five-for came when Mitchell Starc chipped to mid-on.
Henriques, who made 68 earlier in the match, found a surprising ally in Lyon and they survived more than 18 overs to add 57 - the best partnership of the innings, the former going to his half-century with a six over long-on off Harbhajan.
After the close, Australia announced seamer Jackson Bird, a squad member not playing in the first Test, would return home for a scan of his back.