BANGALORE, Oct 12 (PTI): Indian spinners raised hopes of an exciting finish to the second and final cricket Test against Australia by reducing the visitors to 202 for seven after Sachin Tendulkar slammed his sixth double hundred here today.
Riding on Tendulkar’s marathon 214, India took a slender 17-run first innings as they folded for 495 at stroke of lunch in reply to Australia’s 478.
Indian tweakers Pragyan Ojha and Harbhajan Singh then bowled superbly to reduce Australia to 202 for seven at stumps on day four at M Chinnaswamy stadium. Australian skipper Ricky Ponting batted with resolve for his 72 before being trapped by paceman Zaheer Khan at the fag end of the penultimate day of the match.
Ponting was the highest-scorer for the team and struck seven boundaries and a six in his 117-ball knock.
Australia, who are seeking a series-levelling win, are leading by 185 runs with lower-order batsmen to contend a fired-up Indian bowling unit.
Mitchell Johnson (7) and Nathan Hauritz (8) will resume the Australian innings tomorrow.
Pragyan Ojha snared three batsmen while Harbhajan Singh took two wickets as Australia slumped from 94 for three to 202 for seven in the last session. Openers Shane Watson (34) and Simon Katich (24) made a good start by adding 58 runs for the first wicket but India clawed their way back by striking thrice swiftly.
Left-armer Ojha trapped Watson to draw first blood in the 17th over while Harbhajan Singh removed Katich three balls later to rattle the Australians. A tremendous piece of work by Mahendra Singh Dhoni behind the wickets resulted in Michael Clarke’s dismissal.
A sharply turning ball from Ojha deceived Clarke to reach the gloves of Dhoni, who took the bails off with lightening speed leaving the batsman short of crease.
Earlier, India suffered a dramatic lower-order collapse after Tendulkar was bowled by debutant Peter George as the hosts lost last four wickets for just nine runs.
Tendulkar, who resumed at 191, slammed his sixth double hundred as India took a 17-run lead before being dismissed for 495 in their first innings at lunch.
Tendulkar’s 214-run knock helped India wipe out the Australian first innings total of 478 as India lost five wickets during the morning session with debutant Peter George dismissing Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh (4).
Spinner Nathan Hauritz claimed two wickets – of Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (30) and S Sreesanth (0) – in his 48th over – while Watson dismissed Zaheer Khan (1).
Australia Ist innings: 478
India 1st Innings (Overnight: 435 for 5): Vijay c Paine b Johnson 139, Sehwag c Johnson b Hilfenhaus 30, Dravid c North b Johnson 1, Tendulkar b George 214, Poojara lbw b Johnson 4, Raina c Hilfenhaus b Clarke 32, Dhoni c Clarke b Hauritz 30, Harbhajan c Ponting b Watson 4, Zaheer c Clarke b George 1, Ojha not out 0, Sreesanth lbw b Hauritz 0. Extras: (B-6, LB-26, W-8) 40. Total: (all out, 144.5 overs) 495. Fall of wickets: 1-37, 2-38, 3-346, 4-350, 5-411, 6-486, 7-491, 8-494, 9-495. Bowling: Ben Hilfenhaus 31-6-77-1, Mitchell Johnson 28-2-105-3, Peter George 21-3-48-2, Nathan Hauritz 39.5-4-153-2, Michael Clarke, 8-0-27-1, Shane Watson 12-2-35-1, Simon Katich 5-0-18-0.
Australia 2nd innings: Watson lbw b Ojha 31, Katich c Dhoni b Harbhajan 24, Ponting lbw b Zaheer 72, Clarke st Dhoni b Ojha 3, Hussey lbw b Ojha 20, North b Harbhajan 3, Paine c Dhoni b Sreesanth 23, Johnson batting 7, Hauritz batting 8. Extras: (B-1, LB-1, W-3, NB-6) 11. Total: (for seven wickets, 65 overs) 202. Fall of wickets: 1-58, 2-58, 3-65, 4-126, 5-131, 6-181, 7-185. Bowling: Zaheer Khan 6-0-32-1, S Sreesanth 9-1-40-1, Pragyan Ojha 25-5-57-3, Harbhajan Singh 21-2-63-2, Virender Sehwag 4-0-8-0.