New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Australia suffered a batting collapse in the second session losing five wickets for 65 runs and were left struggling at 153 for seven on day one of their fourth cricket Test against India at the Feroz Shah Kotla here Friday.
After double strikes by Indian pacer Ishant Sharma left Australia at 94 for two at lunch, the spinners struck in tandem as the Kotla wicket started crumbling within two sessions of play.
Steve Smith was batting on 25 and Peter Siddle five at the tea break.
Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three victims and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja two as Indian spinners wreaked havoc in the middle-order. Australia’s main contributors were Phil Hughes (45) and Ed Cowan (38).
Ashwin struck shortly after the lunch break to get rid of Cowan with a tossed up delivery on leg, tempting the southpaw to go for a sweep, but the ball turned in sharply and knocked down his stumps.
Australia’s stand-in captain Shane Watson (17) survived a stumping chance before lunch but failed to make the most of the opportunity. Watson charged down to Jadeja only to miss the line and was stumped by Mahendra Singh Dhoni. It was the sixth time in the series that Jadeja removed an Australian captain in the series.
Vice-captain Matthew Wade (2) was the next to go, caught bat pad at silly point by Murali Vijay off Ashwin and Jadeja dismissed Glenn Maxwell (10) to expose the Australian tail.
Earlier, Ishant struck in the second over to get rid of opening batsman David Warner, for a duck, caught at second slip by Virat Kohli.
Hughes took the Indian attack scoring 45 off 59 balls, hitting 10 fours in the process.
Hughes, however, was rattled by a short-of-length ball from Ishant that crashed on to his helmet and two balls later he played on, ending the difficult over with a soft dismissal.
Watson became the 44th Australian Test captain after skipper Michael Clarke failed to recover from chronic back pain.
Australia also made four other changes in the side — Matthew Wade came in for Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson for Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson for Xavier Doherty and Glenn Maxwell for Moises Henriques.
India made one change — debutant Ajinkya Rahane replacing local boy Shikhar Dhawan, who injured the knuckles on his left hand during the Mohali Test.
India lead the series 3-0 and are looking at a historic 4-0 whitewash of Australia.