MELBOURNE, Dec 28 (IANS): Umesh Yadav struck thrice reducing Australia to 81 for four in the second innings against India at tea on the third day of the first cricket Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) here Wednesday.
Ricky Ponting was unbeaten on 33 and Mike Hussey 29 at the break and the duo with their 54-run stand for the fifth wicket helped Australia recover from a disastrous 27 for four. Australia, who made 333 in the first innings, stretched their lead to 132 after bowling out India for 282 runs in the morning session.
Indian fast bowlers atoned for the disastrous performance of the batsmen. Resuming at the overnight score of 214/3, India suffered a batting collapse losing seven wickets for 68 runs before being bundled out for 282 runs in the first innings.
Yadav (3/24) and Ishant Sharma (1/21) put on an impressive display of fast bowling as Australia lost four quick wickets - including both openers in one over - all gone in half an hour. Three of the Australian batsmen were played down.
David Warner (5) was the first to fall, edging a delivery from Yadav onto the stumps while Ed Cowan (8) was out three balls later as he let a ball go and was struck on the pads to be out LBW.
Shortly afterwards Shaun Marsh (3) in his attempt to drive lustily a ball outside off sliced it back onto his stumps with a thin edge.
Ishant then produced a great delivery to get rid of Australian captain Michael Clarke (1). Ishant angled it on a good length that drew Clarke forward to defend, but the ball moved in, enough to take the inside edge and rattled the stumps.
Earlier in the day, fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus wrecked India's middle-order with his maiden five-wicket haul (5/75) to give Australia a vital 51 run first innings lead. Peter Siddle bagged three for 63 while James Pattinson got two for 55.
Resuming at an overnight 214 for three, Indian batsmen struggled against the pace and swing generated by the Australian fast bowlers during the morning session. Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin offered some resistance with his quickfire 31 off 35 balls.
Hilfenhaus dismissed Rahul Dravid, who failed to add to his overnight score of 68, with the second ball of the day and then removed Virat Kohli (11) with the second ball of his second spell.
Hilfenhaus found some good movement with the old ball, something that had been a problem for him before he was dropped after the disastrous Ashes series. He was effective with the new ball as well as he drew India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (6) into a tentative prod and edging a ball to Mike Hussey in the gully.
V.V.S. Laxman (2), a thorn for Australia in the past, edged Siddle to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to give the hosts the much needed relief.
Hilfenhaus achieved his first ever five-wicket haul as he claimed his fourth wicket of the morning removing stubborn nightwatchman Ishant Sharma (11).
Pattinson castled Zaheer Khan leaving India struggling at 9/259, still 74 runs behind Australia's first innings score. But a heroic 23-run stand for the last wicket between Ashwin and Umesh Yadav (2 not out) trimmed Australia's lead. Siddle finally removed Ashwin, caught behind just before lunch.
Ashwin was lucky to survive a leg-before appeal, while on seven, off Pattinson. Video replays suggested the ball would have likely struck middle and leg stumps but the batsman survived since Decision Review System (DRS) was not being used in the series.