Nathan Lyon took eight wickets on Thursday to give Australia a glimmer of hope of beating India in the third Test – provided they can avoid another calamitous batting collapse.
On a dramatic day two in Indore, Australia’s batting imploded only for the tourists to fight back and bowl out India for 163, giving them a victory target of 76.
Cheteshwar Pujara top-scored with 59, caught brilliantly at slip by Australia captain Steve Smith, with Lyon taking figures of 8-64 on a treacherous spinning wicket.
Having skittled India for just 109 on day one, Australia resumed on 156-4 but collapsed to 197 all out before lunch, their last six wickets tumbling for just 11 runs.
Cameron Green and Peter Handscomb did well to survive the first hour on a pitch with unpredictable bounce, the tall Green using his long stride to neutralise India’s spin attack.
But after the drinks break, Handscomb departed for 19, caught by Shreyas Iyer at short leg off Ravichandran Ashwin, having added 12 to his overnight score.
Soon afterwards Green fell for 21, trapped lbw by Umesh Yadav, who then bowled Mitchell Starc for one, sending the left-hander’s off-stump cartwheeling towards wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat.
In a dizzying disintegration, Alex Carey then departed for three, lbw to Ashwin, seamer Umesh bowled Todd Murphy for a duck and Nathan Lyon was cleaned up by Ashwin for five.
Ashwin took 3-44 and Umesh 3-12.
India sensed their chance and openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill survived a tricky 10 minutes before lunch.
But after the break, Gill was beaten for spin as he tried to hit across the line and was bowled middle stump for five by Lyon.
Skipper Rohit was then trapped lbw by Lyon for 12.
Virat Kohli looked to take on Matthew Kuhnemann, who took five wickets in the first innings, cutting the spinner for a glorious four, only to be trapped lbw the following ball for 13.
This sent a hush around the rowdy Indore ground but Pujara gave the home crowd something to cheer about, reducing the deficit by smashing Kuhnemann for a succession of boundaries.
Lyon though proved a handful, particularly for Ravindra Jadeja, who was out lbw for seven just before the break to leave India reeling.
In the final session, Iyer made an entertaining 26 that included two sixes before being caught brilliantly by Usman Khawaja at short midwicket off Starc.
Bharat was bowled by Lyon for three and Ashwin fell for 16, lbw to Lyon for his fifth scalp, Australia successfully overturning a not-out decision on review.
Marnus Labuschagne dropped Pujara off Kuhnemann when he was on 50, diving to his left at short cover, getting two hands to the ball but failing to keep hold of it.
Pujara battled on, making the Australians work hard before captain Smith took a brilliant diving catch to his right at slip off the bowling of Lyon.
The very next ball Umesh was given out lbw off Lyon but was reprieved on review. The ball after that Umesh slogged to the boundary where he was caught just inside the rope by Green.
Soon afterwards, Lyon clean bowled Mohammed Siraj to give the Australian his eighth scalp, and the hapless Indian No 11 his second duck of the match.
© Agence France-Presse