Mohali, Mar 15: Spinners did the job for India as Australia lost quick wickets to end up scoring 273/7 at stumps in their first innings on Day 2 of the third Test at PCA in Mohali.
Steve Smith kept the Australian innings ticking with a crucial 58 off 137 to take his side past the 250 mark while Michell Starc managed to hang on scoring 20 runs towards the end of play.
Having gone wicketless in the first two sessions, pacer Ishant Sharma struck twice in the same over to dismiss Brad Haddin (21) and Moises Henriques (0).
Off-spinner R Ashwin claimed his first wicket of Ed Cowan who scored 86 before being caught by Virat Kolhi at slip just after tea. Cowan, who began the innings with a 139-run partnership with Warner, top-scored for the visitors smashing eight fours.
Spinner Ravindra Jadeja and pacer Ishant Sharma turned the game around for India with quick strikes. Jadeja claimed three wickets for 56 runs while Ishant gave away 41 runs for two wickets. Spinners R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha registered one wicket apiece.
Ravindra Jadeja gave the much-needed breakthrough by dismissing David Warner and captain Michael Clarke in successive deliveries. Warner, who hit 71 runs with nine fours, was caught out by skipper MS Dhoni while Clarke was tempted to move forward with a flighted delivery, but completely missed the ball and Dhoni finished an easy stumping.
Spinners continued to trouble Aussie batsmen as Pragyan Ojha dismissed Phil Hughes. Ojha's delivery was moving towards the leg stump and Hughes tried to flick it but it caught the edge for a simple catch to Dhoni.
Cowan, who put up a 139-run opening partnership with Warner, scored his sixth half-century and his third against India.
Australia openers David Warner and Ed Cowan put up a 109-run partnership at lunch during Day 2 of the third Test at Mohali.
Indian spinners could not create any magic as Warner did most of the damage to put Australia in a strong position. Ed Cowan pitched in a steady 43 with five fours while Warner scored his seventh half-century, second against India and in this series.
The openers started causiously against Indian seamers but the runs started flowing steadily once they settled. Pacers Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were ineffective during their spells.
Spinners came close a few overs before lunch. Cowan sliced Pragyan Ojha's ball towards slip but Virat Kohli could only get his fingertips on the ball. Another chance went begging as Warner's shot went in between MS Dhoni and Kohli.
Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and elected to bat first in the third Test at Mohali.
Team India made two changes bringing in opener Shikhar Dhawan and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha for dropped Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh.
Australia had to make several changes due to suspension of four players while Matthew Wade is out injured. Brad Haddin comes in wade while Steve Smith, Michael Starc and Nathan Lyon were recalled.
Clarke and Co have an uphill task in test having gone 2-0 down in the series. Day 1 of the third Test was called off due to rain.
India: MS Dhoni (Captain), Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha
Australia: Michael Clarke (Captain) David Warner, Ed Cowan, Phillip Hughes, Steve Smith, Brad Haddin (wk), Moises Henriques, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Xavier Doherty
Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Richard Kettleborough (England)
Third umpire: Sudhir Asnani
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (Sri Lanka)