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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

India have victory in reach as Australia folds in second innings: T1D4

Australia 380 & 9/232 (84 ov, Henriques 75*, Ashwin 5/90) lead India 572 (Dhoni 224, Kohli 107, Tendulkar 81, Pattinson 5/96, Lyon 3/215) by 40 runs with one 2nd inns wicket in hand: T1/4 D4/5 at Chennai.

MS Dhoni didn't add many to his overnight score before he was caught behind off James Pattinson for 224/265b (6x6, 24x4), a superb and sustained display of breathtaking audacity underpinned by technical skill on a wicket taking spin.

Australia, 192 behind after Dhoni's match changing innings, needed to produce their own Dhoni (or two) to make a good fist of a reply. But a fourth day pitch more akin to a sixth or seventh day one at home (which only underscores Dhoni's class in mastering its demons) was always going to be difficult to post even a fair to middling total on.

And so it proved. There were a couple of low key vignettes from the Australian top order, but against the Indian spinners ( who opened the bowling and have delivered 81 of the 84 overs to date) on an increasingly venomous pitch only no7 Moises Henriques 75*/ 124b (2x6, 6x4) enhanced his reputation.

Henriques and Nathan Lyon have so far put on 57 for the last wicket, the largest partnership of the innings and the one which has made India have to bat again and the match to go into the fifth day. But it will not stop an Indian victory, nor should it stop Australian soul searching.

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