New Delhi:Indian bowlers fired in unison to defend their first innings total of 441 and bundled Australia for 355 runs, giving their side a lead of 86 runs at the close of third day's play in Nagpur.
Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh picked three wickets, while Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra took two apiece. Zaheer Khan picked the all-important wicket of Simon Katich. India tried to dry up the runs in the first session. Zaheer gave India the first breakthrough on Saturday when his swinging yorker hit Katich on his boot in front of the wicket and broke his 155-run partnership with Michael Hussey. Katich slammed fifth hundred, his second against India.
After dismissing Katich for 102 runs just before the lunch, India carried the momentum in the post-lunch session. Losing Hussey, Michael Clarke and Shane Watson in quick succession snatched away the advantage from Australia that Katich-Hussey partnership had provided them with.
Hussey completed his 12th fifty, his fourth against the hosts. He looked set for a hundred but M. Vijay, combined with MS Dhoni, caught him short of the crease and subsequently 10 runs short of his tenth Test ton. After pushing one from Harbhajan Singh, Hussey ran for a single but Vijay stopped it at silly point and aimed the stumps. Dhoni collected it just outside the off-stump and knocked off the bails in a fraction of a second to see off Hussey.
Watson, who came in place of 'Mr. Cricket' Hussey, could not do much about his luck and walked back scoring just two runs. He defended one from Harbhajan but the ball rolled back and hit the stumps. Bhajji, who completed his 300 Test wickets on Friday after removing Ricky Ponting, dismissed Cameron White for 46 runs as his third victim of the match. White added 52 runs with Brad Haddin for the seventh wicket but missed out on his fifty after he was caught by Virender Sehwag at long on.
Indian pacer Ishant Sharma continued to relish the Australian challenge as he not only dried up the runs but also tested his opponents. He was rewarded with Michael Clarke and Jason Krejza's wickets. After Katich's dismissal, Clarke added 26 runs with Hussey for the fourth wicket but could add only eight runs to his kitty. He nicked a good-length delivery from Ishant that came in and skipper MS Dhoni gloved it easily behind the stumps. Krejza was Ishant's second victim whom he trapped in front of the wicket for 5 runs.
Leg-spinner Mishra struck to dismiss Haddin, who made 28 runs. The ball, pitched on the leg-stump, turned and took an edge of Haddin's bat, missing his front pad, before landing safely in Dravid's hands at first slip. Mishra got his second man in Mitchell Johnson, who fell as last Australian wicket. Johnson holed one out to Zaheer at long-on for 5 runs.
After wrapping up Australians, Indian openers Sehwag and Vijay came out to bat for just one over. But they did not make any change in the scoreboard in the last six balls of the day.
Match report: Day 1
Match report: Day 2