Australia reduced to 128 for five at tea on fourth day

Chennai: India's spin trio of Ravichandran Ashwin, Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja took full advantage of a crumbling pitch as the hosts inched closer towards a comprehensive victory by reducing Australia to 128 for five on the fourth day of the first Test, here on Monday.

At tea, Australia required another 64 runs to avoid the ignominy of an innings defeat and their captain Michael Clarke (31 batting) is waging a lone battle with little support from the other end.

Harbhajan, Jadeja and Ashwin exploited the deteriorating conditions as they polished the Australian top-half in the post-lunch session as India looked to go for the kill. While Harbhajan and Ashwin got two wickets each, Jadeja had one.

Starting the post-lunch session at 34 for one, the Aussie batsmen found it difficult to play a surviving game on a pitch where there were enough footmarks on both sides for the spinners to trouble the batsmen.

Whenever the delivery landed on the rough, there was vicious turn on offer and also the variable bounce made life even more difficult.

Ed Cowan (32), who was trying to graft his way having played 97 balls, was finally adjudged leg before when an Ashwin delivery straightened after pitching and the left-hander wasn't entirely committed to the front foot.

Although the batsman didn't look too happy, television replays suggested that the ball would have hit middle stump.

Phillip Hughes's nightmare ended in three balls as he got a delivery from Jadeja that nastily jumped onto him after hitting one of the spots. The ball ballooned off his gloves and Sehwag took the easiest of catches at slip.

Harbhajan, who had an indifferent first innings, bowled far better in the second essay. He was slower through the air and was also getting the required drift.

David Warner, who curbed his natural instincts to score a patient 23 off 61 balls, got a drifter from Harbhajan and was caught plumbed in-front.

Buoyed by the success, Harbhajan got his second wicket as he cleaned up Matthew Wade (8), who went for a wild sweep while completely missing the line of the delivery.