Australia, who have never chased down a target of more than 200 at the Adelaide Oval in the fourth innings of a Test match since 1902 looked in all sorts of trouble after India pushed their lead to 166 on Day 3.
After the bowlers earned the Indian side a thin 15-run lead, the openers and the duo of Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli combined to put India in a strong position in the first Test.
The Indian innings started off with KL Rahul and Murali Vijay showing that they had learned from their mistakes from the first innings. Stitching together their first fifty-plus partnership away from home, the openers left more balls and though they did play some loose shots, they managed to stay put at the wicket. After scoring just 11 after nine overs, Rahul broke the shackles and went for the drives against the pacers. After a few fours and a six, he was out on 44, caught behind off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood while Vijay fell 13 runs later, edging a loose shot to second slip.
With Nathan Lyon bowling at the rough consistently, he looked a big threat. However, the innings had a lot of frustration for the off-spinner as he first saw Rahul being dropped off his bowling and then witnessed Pujara survive two DRS reviews.
The first innings centurion was on a mission on Day 3 as well, padding the ball repeatedly even as the Indian skipper Kohli was satisfied with tiring out the bowlers. After surviving 104 balls for his 34, Kohli was eventually dismissed by Lyon, caught at short leg. However, the 71-run partnership only strengthened India’s stronghold in the match and Ajinkya Rahane saw through the end of the day without further damage.
Earlier, the Indian bowlers, who had needed 3 more wickets to dismiss the Aussies took full use of the overcast conditions. The day’s play started 45 minutes late due to showers and when it did begin, Mitchell Starc came out looking positive. He was caught on 15 by Rishabh Pant after surviving a few nervous deliveries by Jasprit Bumrah. After yet another rain-break Lyon unleashed his attacking mode, scoring 24 off 28 as the ninth-wicket partnership fetched 31 runs. However, Head and Josh Hazlewood were soon dismissed off consecutive deliveries by Mohammad Shami to end Australia’s innings at 235.
Brief scores: India 250 (Cheteshwar Pujara 123; Josh Hazlewood 3-52) and 151/3 (KL Rahul 44, Cheteshwar Pujara 40*) lead Australia 235 (Travis Head 72; Jasprit Bumrah 3-47 R Ashwin 3-57) by 166 runs.