IMAGES from Day 4 of the 2nd Test at Perth on Monday
Australia are on course for a series-levelling win in the second Test after another below-par batting performance from India undid the good work done by their bowlers on day four in Perth on Monday.
Chasing 287 on a testing surface, India were 112 for five at stumps with skipper Virat Kohli's (17) dismissal in the 20th over of the second innings dealt the team a massive blow.
The last specialist pair of Hanuma Vihari (24) and Rishabh Pant (9) were in the middle when stumps were drawn and will have to bat well in the first session on day five for India to have any chance of scoring the remaining 175 runs.
India’s ordinary batting effort came after a sensational performance from pacer Mohammad Shami, who took a career best six for 56 in Australia's second innings to bring India back into the contest.
Shami removed the set Usman Khawaja (72) and Tim Paine (37) to trigger a batting collapse that saw Australia being all out for 243 after the duo batted out the entire morning session.
At tea, India were reeling at 15 for two and following the break it got worse for the visitors as they lost wickets in a bunch. Murali Vijay (20) and Virat Kohli (17) added 35 runs for the third wicket before things went into a downward spiral.
Kohli was the first to go, with Lyon inducing him forward and the batsman edged it to slip as the Australian players broke into celebration.
Two overs later, Lyon (2-30) got an off break to jump off the rough and Vijay was bowled going for a drive as India were reduced to 55-4.
Ajinkya Rahane (30) came out playing his shots and took on the bowling with two fours as well as a six. He put on 43 runs for the fifth wicket with Vihari as India started thinking of at least taking the fight into day five.
But it was not to be, as Rahane hit a drive straight to point off Josh Hazlewood (2-24) and India plunged to 98-5.
India suffered a poor start in their chase of 287 after pacer Mohammad Shami brought the visitors back in the second Test with a six-wicket haul on day four in Perth on Monday.
Shami took a career-best figures of 6-56 as Australia were bowled out for 243 runs in their second innings.
KL Rahul (0) played another indecisive stroke and was bowled off Mitchell Starc (1-6) on the fourth ball of the second innings. The bigger moment came when Josh Hazlewood (1-5) had
Cheteshwar Pujara (4) caught behind off a faint edge in the fourth over to leave India leaning on Kohli once again.
Post a wicket-less morning session, Australia collapsed in a heap as they lost five wickets for 15 runs in the space of eight overs.
Shami was the wrecker-in-chief, taking 4-26 in seven overs after lunch, as his express pace combined with short stuff bamboozled the Australian lower order.
Skipper Tim Paine (37) was the first go, unable to negotiate sharp bounce and gloving to Virat Kohli at second slip.
Fit-to-bat Aaron Finch (25) came out to bat next, but lasted only one ball, clipping down leg side and caught behind. Shami was on a hat trick for the second consecutive Test, but missed out.
An over later though, using the second new ball, he got rid of Usman Khawaja (72) with another sharp rising delivery to pick his fourth five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
Eight balls later Jasprit Bumrah (3-39) got rid of Pat Cummins (1), bowled off a delivery keeping too low.
Nathan Lyon (5) hit out and took Australia past 200, but Shami knocked him over in similar fashion to the rest. His previous best was 5-28 against South Africa in Johannesburg in January 2018.
The last wicket pairing of Starc (14) and Hazlewood (17 not out) frustrated the Indian team though, and added 36 golden runs for the tenth wicket, taking the lead past 280.
Captain Tim Paine and Usman Khawaja frustrated India with an unbeaten 70-run stand, helping Australia extend their lead to 233 after a wicket-less morning session on day four of the second Test in Perth on Monday.
Australia reached 190-4 in their second innings at lunch on day four.
At the break, Paine was batting on 37 not out while Khawaja was unbeaten on 67 runs after a session in which Australia scored 58 runs in 30 overs.
India started with their strike bowlers Jasprit Bumrah (1-36) and Mohammed Shami (2-30), but barring a close call for run-out if it had been a direct hit, the visitors never came close to taking a wicket.
Bumrah was the pick of the bowlers once again, getting the ball to rear up from length and beating the batsmen on many occasions, in particular Khawaja. But the outside edge continued to elude him.
The duo stepped up on the scoring rate a bit more in the second hour of play, and added another 39 runs to the total. In doing so, Khawaja reached his 14th Test half-century off 156 balls, whilst taking the overall lead past the 200-run mark.
Indian skipper Virat Kohli and Paine were once again involved in a verbal exchange, with umpire Chris Gaffaney stepping in to ask the duo to get on with the game.
Kohli rotated his bowlers well, with Ishant Sharma (1-39), Umesh Yadav (0-51) and Hanuma Vihari (0-31) giving the requisite control. Australia's scoring rate came down to 1.93 per over for the session, and 2.44 per over for the entire innings as the pitch continued to pose riddles.
Earlier, the Australian team management had confirmed that opener Aaron Finch is fit enough to bat again in this second innings. He had retired hurt in the final session on day three, on 25 not out, after being hit by Shami in the 13th over.
Australia had scored 326 runs in their first innings, and India replied with 283 runs, thanks to Kohli's 25th Test hundred, thus conceding a lead of 43 runs.