India enter the final day needing seven wickets to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, while Australia, trailing by 16 and with Clarke in doubt, will hope for a batting rearguard.
New Delhi: A telling three-wicket burst with the new ball from swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar late on Sunday has given India reason to believe they can win the third Test and reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy which they surrendered 4-0 in Australia last year. Bhuvneshwar's spell of 8-1-25-3 has put India ahead of Australia at the end of an absorbing day's play, and helped smooth over the loss of all ten wickets for 216 runs.
India need seven wickets to bowl Australia out. Given how poorly the Australians have fared in the second innings on tour - 241 in Chennai, 131 in Hyderabad - there is every reason to believe that India's bowlers can achieve their task. Michael Clarke did not come out to bat at No. 3 and it is believed that he may not be able to bat on Monday, putting additional pressure the other batsmen.
A match that looked like it was heading for a draw when Murali Vijay and Sachin Tendulkar were batting in the morning was turned on its head by the loss of five wickets for 47 runs. Tendulkar was dismissed on the stroke of lunch for 37 by Steven Smith, and the arrival of the second new ball saw four wickets go down for 19 runs. Mitchell Starc's prodigious swing made a belated appearance in the series and Peter Siddle used a scrambled seam to good effect as Australia found some inspiration in the afternoon session, which ended with India 479 for 7.
Post-tea, Virat Kohli and Bhuvneshwar extended their eighth-wicket resistance to 61 before Moises Henriques removed Bhuvneshwar. Siddle then nipped out the last two wickets as India were bowled out for 499, a lead of 91. Then Bhuvneshwar removed David Warner, Ed Cowan and Smith in another incisive spell, opening the door for India press for victory.
Down 0-2 in the four-Test series, Australia must find a way to keep the match alive. They will take a degree of solace from the fact that their No. 3, Phillip Hughes, has registered his first significant knock of the series. Following scores of 6, 0, 19 and 0 in the first two Tests, Hughes battled his way to 53 not out at stumps and the tourists need him to convert this start into a big hundred. Hughes again looked susceptible to spin, in particular against R Ashwin, but the fact that he is reached 53 gives Australia hope.
An intriguing final day lies ahead, especially considering India's reliance on spin and the fact the fifth-day surface will encourage turn. India are sure to cramp the Australians with close catchers, and you can expect a lot of appealing.
Can Hughes save the Test and his career? Or will India wrap up the Test to claim the series? Monday promises to gripping. Don't miss it.