After setting India a target of 500, Australia reduced the visitors to 166 for 6 on day four.
Adelaide: A 4-0 series for Australia looms large with the home team requiring four wickets on the final day to wrap up another crushing win against a struggling Indian side.
Chasing 500 to win the final match – or five sessions to bat out a draw - India got off to another bad start. Ryan Harris did not take long to remove Gautam Gambhir as India's second innings got underway, but Virender Sehwag struck a streaky 62.
Gambhir departed in the fifth over when he pushed at a delivery from Harris which pitched in the off-and-middle region and then moved a shade. The resultant edge was collected by Brad Haddin. Sehwag slammed his way to 62 before he mistimed a rank full toss from offspinner Nathan Lyon. It was an injudicious way to get out for a leader of a Test team.
India went to tea with Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid at the crease but the duo was dismissed shortly after resumption. Dravid (25) never looked entirely comfortable and was caught at gully off the bowling of Harris, while Tendulkar (13) was out bat-pad to Lyon after advancing down the pitch.
Virat Kohli added 52 for the fifth wicket with VVS Laxman, who was given a lifeline by Ricky Ponting on 25, when he dropped a catch at second slip off Harris. Laxman and Kohli looked set to challenge the Australians on the final day, but Laxman whipped a short ball from Lyon straight to Shaun Marsh at short midwicket.
Coming off a fine century in the last innings, Kohli looked comfortable during his stay before he misjudged a single in the penultimate over of the day and was run out for 22. Hilfenhaus swooped from mid-on to pivot and throw the stumps down with a brilliant piece of fielding.
The day started with Australia resuming on 50 for 3, and Ponting's unbeaten half-century helped the home side to a declaration just moments after lunch on 167 for 5.
The former captain shared a 71-run partnership with Michael Clarke, which ensured that Australia scored 104 in the first session despite Clarke being caught behind off the bowling of Umesh Yadav for 37. The hosts will be confident of wrapping things up early on the final day.