India reach 248-6; trail Australia by 52 in 4th test


Dharamsala, India (AP) — Nathan Lyon took 4-67 as India finished on 248-6 at stumps on day two of the fourth test against Australia on Sunday. The hosts trail by another 52 runs.

Ravindra Jadeja remained unbeaten on 16 runs, while Wriddhiman Saha was batting on 10 not out.

Post tea, Lyon took four wickets and completely bamboozled the Indian middle order. First, he accounted for Cheteshwar Pujara (57), caught at short leg in the first over after the break.

His dismissal broke the 49-run third-wicket partnership between Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane (46). Four overs later, Karun Nair (5) was dismissed as the ball lobbed up after he attempted to play it and Mathew Wade put in a diving effort.

Australia's Nathan Lyon celebrates the dismissal of India's Cheteshwar Pujara during the second day of the fourth test in Dharmsala, India, Sunday, March 26. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)
Australia’s Nathan Lyon celebrates the dismissal of India’s Cheteshwar Pujara during the second day of the fourth test in Dharmsala, India, Sunday, March 26. (AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal)

India were reduced to 167-4 but Rahane added 49 runs with Ravichandran Ashwin (30) to push the score past 200 in the 75th over. He hit seven fours as well as a six, and survived a DRS review for lbw in the 76th over.

Three overs later, against the run of play, Rahane was caught at slip off Lyon, who also trapped Ashwin lbw four overs later as India slipped to 221-6.

The off-spinner broke a barren patch after his eight-wicket haul on day one in Bengaluru.

“I am happy to go out there and bowl,” Lyon said. “Personal achievements don’t matter to me. Our goal is to bowl as a unit and we did well today in restricting India to 240-odd for six. Everyone wrote us off, but to be in this position in the last test of the series that’s 1-1, I think the pressure is now on India.”

Jadeja threw his bat around and put on 27 runs for the seventh wicket with Saha. Matt Renshaw dropped Saha, on 9 not out, at slip off Pat Cummins (1-59) in the 88th over.

It was his second missed catch of the day, and denied Australia an immediate breakthrough upon taking the second new ball.

Earlier, Lokesh Rahul (60) and Pujara put on 87 runs for the second wicket. Rahul scored his sixth test half-century, and fifth in this series, off 98 balls.

However, he then faced a barrage of short-pitched deliveries from Cummins and ended up chipping one to mid-off. In all, he faced 124 balls and hit nine fours and a six.

“It is a good wicket, probably the best we have played on in this series,” Rahul said. “There is something in it for pacers, spinners and batsmen. It will keep us interested in the second innings. They bowled with pace and venom, and it was the toughest session of test cricket in my career so far.

“I enjoyed batting in the middle, but got out to horrible execution of the pull shot,” he added..

Pujara and Rahane then put on 45 runs for the third wicket, India’s highest for this partnership of the series. Australia tried to slow the scoring in the second hour of play, but the batsmen broke through against the tourists’ spinners.

Pujara reached his 15th test half-century off 132 balls, and in doing so, crossed the 400 mark for this series. India passed 150 in the 57th over.

In the morning session, Rahul withstood a barrage from both Australian pacers though he had a lucky escape when Renshaw dropped him (on 10 not out) at slip off Cummins in the 12th over.

But Josh Hazlewood (1-40) had managed to get Murali Vijay (11) caught behind after consistently troubling him with bounce and movement on the off-stump.