INDORE: Australia fought back to leave India in trouble at 79-4 in their second innings at tea on day two of the third Test on Thursday after the tourists had suffered a spectacular batting collapse.
India were still nine runs behind at the break on a viciously turning pitch in Indore with Cheteshwar Pujara looking assured on 36 and Shreyas Iyer yet to get off the mark.
Having skittled India for just 109 on day one thanks to five wickets from spinner Matthew Kuhnemann, Australia hoped to build a strong lead in their bid to come back from a 2-0 deficit in the four-match series.
But resuming at 156-4, Australia imploded to be all out for 197 before lunch, their last six wickets tumbling for just 11 runs as seam bowler Umesh Yadav and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin ran riot.
Cameron Green and Peter Handscomb did well to survive the first hour on a pitch with unpredictable bounce, the tall Green using his long stride to neutralise India’s spin attack.
But after the drinks break Handscomb departed for 19, caught by Iyer at short leg off Ashwin, having added 12 to his overnight score.
Soon afterwards Green fell for 21, trapped lbw by Umesh, who then bowled Mitchell Starc for one, sending the left-hander’s off-stump cartwheeling towards wicketkeeper Srikar Bharat.
In a dizzying disintegration, Alex Carey then departed for three, lbw to Ashwin, Umesh bowled Todd Murphy for a duck and Nathan Lyon was cleaned up by Ashwin for five.
Ashwin took 3-44 and Umesh 3-12.
India sensed their chance and openers Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill survived a tricky 10 minutes before lunch.
But after the break, Gill was beaten for spin as he tried to hit across the line and was bowled middle stump for five by Nathan Lyon.
Skipper Rohit was then trapped lbw by the spinner Lyon for 12.
Virat Kohli looked to take on Kuhnemann, cutting the spinner for a glorious four, only to be trapped lbw the following ball for 13, sending a hush around the rowdy Indore ground.
Pujara gave the home crowd something to cheer about, reducing the deficit by smashing Kuhnemann for a succession of boundaries.
Lyon though proved a handful, particularly for Ravindra Jadeja, who was out lbw for seven just before the break to leave India reeling.