India face defeat

2012-01-27 09:56
V.V.S.Laxman (Gallo)

Adelaide - India were lurching towards defeat and a 4-0 series humiliation against Australia after another batting collapse in the fourth Test in Adelaide on Friday.

The beleaguered tourists, chasing a record 500 runs to win, took the Test into a fifth day for the first time in their ill-fated tour but only after losing their top six batsmen, including Sachin Tendulkar.

V.V.S.Laxman and first innings century-maker Virat Kohli stalled Australia's charge for almost 90 minutes before Laxman fell two overs from stumps.

Laxman, struggling for form in Australia, played spinner Nathan Lyon off the back foot to short mid-wicket for 35 leaving nightwatchman Ishant Sharma surrounded by 10 close in fielders.

But in the day's penultimate over Kohli was run out on a chancy single by a brilliant side-on throw by Ben Hilfenhaus for 22 to leave the tourists in tatters.

Australia will expect to mop up India's tail on Saturday with only forecasted storms likely to save the visitors from another embarrassing capitulation.

At the close on the fourth day, India were 166 for six, trailing by 333 runs with Sharma on two and Wriddhiman Saha yet to score. Lyon ended the day with three for 57 off 19 overs.

The tourists were left with 146 overs to reach their improbable target after Australia declared their second innings at 167 for five shortly after lunch.

But they were soon in trouble, losing Gautam Gambhir for 13 in the fifth over, caught behind off Harris.

Stand-in skipper Virender Sehwag blasted 12 fours in a rollicking 62 off 53 balls before he skied a full toss from spinner Lyon only to a waiting Ricky Ponting in the covers.

Rahul Dravid lasted 71 balls before he edged to Mike Hussey in the gully off Ryan Harris for 25 to complete a poor series in which he was bowled six times and scored just 194 runs at 24.25.

Tendulkar again missed out on his elusive 100th international hundred when he was caught close to the wicket by Ed Cowan off Lyon for 13.

It stretched Test cricket's all-time leading runscorer's barren run without a century to 25 Test and one-day innings since his last hundred (111) in the World Cup last March.

The highest winning chase at the Adelaide Oval is Australia's 315 against England in 1902, while India's highest-ever run hunt was 406 against the West Indies in Trinidad in 1976.

Earlier, former captain Ponting was 60 not out when Michael Clarke declared Australia's innings for a second time in the match after calling a halt in the first innings at 604 for seven.

Ponting, who topscored with 210 in the first innings, finished the series with 544 runs at 108.80 to dispel doubts over his place in the Australian side ahead of the tour to the West Indies in March-April.

Australia set out on the fourth day with a 382-run lead. Clarke was dropped on 30 by Ravi Ashwin off his own bowling before falling seven runs later.

Clarke, caught behind off Umesh Yadav, completed the series with 626 runs at 125.20 after his unbeaten 329 in Sydney and 210 in the first innings of the Adelaide Test.

Hussey was the other Australian wicket to fall, lbw for 15 to Ishant Sharma nearing lunch.


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