MOHALI, India, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Mitchell Johnson hastened an abrupt India collapse on Sunday with his sixth test five-wicket haul to give Australia a 23-run first innings lead in the first test.
Replying to Australia’s first innings total of 428, India were cruising merrily at 354 for four before losing six wickets in the final session of the third day to fold for 405.
India dominated the early proceedings with four batsmen registering half-centuries. Sachin Tendulkar (98) narrowly missed his 49th test hundred.
Resuming on 110 for two, India lost nightwatchman Ishant Sharma (18) in the morning session. However, Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid (77), who share more than 25,000 test runs between them, steadied the innings with a 79-run stand.
Dravid played with characteristic caution until he became Doug Bollinger’s second victim of the match after a sedate knock containing 12 boundaries.
“I would have liked to carry on and get a big hundred,” Dravid told Neo Cricket channel.
“I felt nice, the way I was batting. My feet were moving well, my balance, head position, bat face. It would have been nice to make that partnership with Sachin a match-defining one.”
Tendulkar and Suresh Raina (86) then stitched together a 124-run fifth wicket partnership, the highest in the Indian innings, to consolidate their position before Australia hit back in the post-tea season.
Marcus North trapped Tendulkar to send a groan across the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium and Johnson dismissed Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh off successive deliveries. Tendulkar hit 13 boundaries during his 189-ball knock.
Middle order batsman Vangipurappu Laxman, nursing a bad back, came out to bat after India had lost their eighth wicket.
“We missed Laxman in the middle order, that was a bit of a disappointment. Sometimes you need one big partnership to crack open a game, unfortunately we didn’t have one today,” Dravid said.
Raina took India past the 400-run mark but a second test century eluded the left-hander who eventually became Johnson’s fifth victim after a mature knock.