Perth: India are once again staring down the barrel after another abject display by the batsmen on day two of the third Test. Tottering at 88 for 4 in their second innings at the WACA the visitors are on the verge of a 3-0 deficit in the series.
Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli were at the crease when stumps were drawn on Saturday, still 120 runs behind the Australian first-innings total of 369.
In what has become a predictable story this series, India's famed batting line-up once again failed to deliver after their bowlers put up a fine show by restricting the opposition to a comparatively low score.
Opener David Warner's career-best 180 gave the Aussies the early control. Warner continued from where he left off in scoring the fourth quickest Test century in the last session on day one, and tormented what looked a toothless attack until the ball started to reverse swing. He smashed five sixes and 20 fours in his 159-ball knock and shared a 214-run opening stand with Ed Cowan.
Umesh Yadav took a career-best 5 for 93 to spearhead a creditable comeback for India, who claimed the last seven Australian wickets for 79 runs. He was well supported by the seasoned Zaheer Khan (2 for 91). The pair bowled in tandem and reverse swung the old ball to end any hopes Australia had of batting India completely out and taking a stranglehold of the Test and the series.
Cowan played well until Yadav breached his defence and bowled him for 74. Yadav then dismissed an out-of-form Shaun Marsh (11) and Ricky Ponting (7) in quick succession.
The fall of Warner triggered the second collapse. He was deceived by an Ishant Sharma slower ball and was caught in the outfield attempting another big hit. Skipper Michael Clarke (18) and Brad Haddin (0) fell in successive overs from Zaheer. Michael Hussey then became the maiden Test wicket of debutant Vinay Kumar.
Only Peter Siddle (30) offered any resistance before Yadav claimed him and Ryan Harris in the space of two overs, and the innings ended when Ben Hilfenhaus (6) fell into the trap of lofting a Virender Sehwag delivery right down the throat of long-on.
Trailing Australia by 208 runs, the opening pair of Sehwag (10) and Gautam Gambhir (14) showed a little resistance early in the innings. But the latter was done in by a snorter from youngster Mitchell Starc, the ball rising sharply before catching the batsman off guard and taking the outside edge to the gully.
His dismissal was quickly followed by Sehwag’s, with the seasoned opener once again falling while trying to play a forward defensive stroke, edging to Haddin off Siddle.
Starc then struck with the big wicket of Sachin Tendulkar (8), who was trapped right in front. The 38-year-old veteran looked unhappy with the decision as he made his way back to the pavilion.
VVS Laxman's inability to play swing was once again exposed when he prodded an outswinger from Hilfenhaus, departing without troubling the scorers. At 51 for 4, India would have feared a worst-case scenario, but the experienced Dravid and Kohli battled it out to take the match into the third day.