Perth - Australia
is poised for their first Test match win since the ball-tampering
scandal after spinner Nathan Lyon claimed the prized wicket of Indian
captain Virat Kohli in the second Test in Perth on Monday.
Set 287 to win on an unpredictable pitch, India were reduced to 112 for five at stumps on the fourth day.
Hanuma Vihari was 24 not out and Rishabh Pant was on nine.
The visitors still needed 175 to win with just five wickets in hand
as Australia seek to level the four-Test series and claim their first
Test win since beating South Africa at St George's Park in March.
It was during the following Test at Newlands that Cameron Bancroft was caught using sandpaper to alter the ball.
The scandal led to lengthy suspensions from Cricket Australia for Bancroft, captain Steve Smith and opener David Warner.
Australian paceman Josh Hazlewood said the home team were excited by the chance of an overdue victory on the fifth day.
"It has been a bit of a long time between wins," he said.
"We're pretty excited to come back tomorrow.
"There is still a bit of work to be done, there is obviously enough
there in the wicket and we just have to hit the right areas."
India lead 1-0 after victory in Adelaide, but have never won a Test
series in Australia. The loss of Kohli appeared a fatal blow to their
chances of a famous win.
Lyon dismissed Kohli for the seventh time in Test cricket, two more
than any other bowler, when he had him caught at slip by Usman Khawaja
Kohli was unable to repeat the heroics of his first innings century,
the ball catching the outside edge as he probed forward defensively.
His departure was the cause of great delight for Australian captain
Tim Paine, after the pair had exchanged words at the conclusion of the
The Australian wicketkeeper, looking for his first win as skipper in
five Tests since taking over from the disgraced Steve Smith, celebrated
the dismissal with a cheeky comment to not out batsman Murali Vijay.
"Murali, I know he's your captain, but you can't seriously like him
as a bloke," Paine said, in comments picked up by microphone.
Just two overs later Vijay was also on his way back to the pavilion, bowled off an inside edge by Lyon, who took two for 30.
The pair of wickets continued a fine match for Lyon, who picked up
five in the Indian first innings to move into the top 25 all-time Test
wicket-takers, currently on 333.
After Australia lost their
last six wickets for 51 runs to be dismissed for 243, with Mohammed
Shami claiming a career-best 6-56, India made a disastrous start to
their run chase just before tea.
Opener KL Rahul didn't survive long, falling to the fourth ball of the innings from Mitchell Starc for a duck.
Rahul attempted to pull the bat away and only succeeded in getting an inside edge onto his stumps.
Cheteshwar Pujara then feathered a short delivery from Josh Hazlewood on four, as India slumped to 13 for two.
Across the two teams, eight wickets fell for 68 runs between lunch
and tea, as batting appeared to become very difficult due to variable
Australian number eight Pat Cummins was the chief victim of the pitch
gremlins after lunch, when he was clean bowled for one by a Jasprit
Bumrah delivery that kept very low off the wicket.
The home team had resumed at 190 for four after lunch, but Shami
cleaned up the tail, removing Khawaja for 72 and Paine, on 37, with
sharply rising deliveries.