Mitchell Johnson stalls India’s response on day three
A late Australian fightback halted India’s progress on day three of the first Test in Mohali.
Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Hauritz struck at the death of the final session as India collapsed from 354-5 to 408 all out.
Earlier, Sachin Tendulkar had fallen just two runs short of his 49th Test century to provide the cornerstone of the Indian response.
The home side looked set to comfortably pass Australia’s 428 before Johnson removed captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh in consecutive deliveries as the Indian tail folded.
Johnson then completed his five-wicket haul by trapping Suresh Raina lbw before he could reach his hundred, while Nathan Hauritz was rewarded for his patience with the wickets of Zaheer Khan and VVS Laxman.
India continued day three on 110-2 after customary fireworks from Virender Sehwag the evening before. Nightwatchman Ishant Sharma and Rahul Dravid frustrated the Australia attack with a partnership of 45 before the former fell for 18.
This brought together the wise pairing of Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, who set about constructing another lengthy stay at the crease.
However, the pair could only add 79 – Doug Bollinger tempting Dravid who edged through to Tim Paine.
Raina, playing in his third Test match, joined Tendulkar and it was not long before the blend of youth and experience was having the desired effect for the hosts.
The pair took India well past the 300 mark to put their side firmly in the driving seat.
However, a rash shot across the line denied Tendulkar his hundred after perhaps being relaxed by the introduction of part-time spinner Marcus North.
It was to trigger the collapse as Johnson, buoyed by the dismissal of the Tendulkar, tore into the tail. Hauritz delivered the final blows to leave India trailing by 23 runs.