India eye victory

Mohali, October 20:

Australia were staring at defeat after losing their top five batsmen for just 10 runs on the fourth day of the second Test against India here today.

Chasing a victory target of 516 after India declared their second innings at 314-3, Australia were reeling at 141-5 at stumps. Michael Clarke, however, defied the Indian attack and was on 42 at close along with Brad Haddin (37), the duo having put on 83 runs for the sixth-wicket stand.

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh started the Australian rot, sending back openers Matthew Hayden (29) and Simon Katich (20) in his sensational opening over before removing Michael Hussey (one) for his 299th Test scalp. Hayden was trapped leg before while Katich lobbed one for Sachin Tendulkar to take a fine catch at short point.

Ricky Ponting (two) saw his off-stump uprooted by lanky paceman Ishant Sharma, who claimed the Australian skipper for the fifth time in as many matches. Sharma then returned dismissed Shane Watson (two), who top-scored with 78 in Australia’s first innings total of 268, to reduce Australia to 58-5.

Needing 375 more runs with five wickets in hand, Australia will have to pray for a miracle if they are to stop India from going 1-0 up in the series for the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The first Test in Bangalore ended in a draw.

India, who made 469 in first innings, declared their second innings an hour before tea to leave Australia four and a half sessions to make the target. Mahendra Dhoni struck an unbeaten 68 with three fours and one six after Gautam Gambhir (104) and Virender Sehwag (90) added 182 for the opening wicket. Dhoni completed his 10th Test fifty and also shared a 66-run stand with Sourav Ganguly (37).

Gambhir hit seven fours and a six for his second Test century while Sehwag clobbered eight fours but was unlucky to miss out on a ton on his 30th birthday.

Sehwag offered a thick edge off Peter Siddle (1-62) to Haddin behind the stumps while Gambhir’s knock was cut short by White when he had him caught by Michael Hussey at mid-off.