Melbourne, Dec 29 (IANS) Australia moved to 174 for four at tea to swell their overall lead to 239 runs on the fourth day of the third Test against India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here Monday.
Shaun Marsh (15) and Joe Burns (eight) were at the crease when the second session ended, whose commencement was delayed for an hour and 25 minutes by rain.
Australia were 90 for one at lunch, with an overall lead of 155 and were seemingly in control but India dismissed Shane Watson (17), in-form skipper Steven Smith (14) and the well-set opener Chris Rogers (69) in the delayed post-lunch session to check Australia’s charge.
Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took two wickets to play a leading role in halting Australia’s march.
The visitors would have had all the more reason to be happy had they hung to a chance given by the Rogers right after the resumption of play.
Ishant Sharma induced an edge of the left-hander but it was dropped at second slip by Shikhar Dhawan.
Rogers enjoyed good fortune again when he gloved an attempted pull to wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni but the third umpire ruled that the catch was taken after a bump.
He was ultimately dismissed by spinner Ashwin on 69.
Earlier, Australia made a confident start to their second innings, reaching 90 for one at lunch, after restricting India to 465.
Rogers and opening partner David Warner (40) made a brisk start.
India needed early wickets to put pressure on the home team after conceding a sizeable first innings lead.
But their efforts were undone by wayward bowling coupled with some aggressive batting by the Australian openers, particularly David Warner who creamed six boundaries during his entertaining innings.
The Indian pacers needlessly bowled short to make it easier for Warner to score as he cut and pulled at every given opportunity.
He gave Australia a flying start, with the hosts racing to 57 runs in 14 overs.
The signs were ominous for India and it seemed Warner would take the game away from them but Ashwin halted their acceleration, dismissing Warner leg before wicket.
These events occurred after India were bowled out for 465 runs in their first innings, conceding a lead of 65 runs.
Resuming at the overnight score of 462 for eight, India lost Umesh Yadav (0) on the second ball of the day and then Mohammed Shami (12) shortly after.
Both wickets were taken by Mitchell Johnson to finish his innings tally at three wickets for 135 runs. Australia made 530 in their first innings.