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Australia pulls ahead after Warner ton

India faces potential overnight declaration with home side 363 runs ahead at stumps on Day 4

Australia pulls ahead after Warner ton - Cricket News
David Warner notched up back-to-back centuries, scoring a 102 in the second innings.
On a hot day, with the game lurching forward towards resolution, tempers frayed and men behaved like boys amidst the kind of gripping drama that makes Test cricket what it is. India and Australia both sensed that the fate of this game would be decided by key moments on the penultimate day of the Test, and a crowd in excess of 27,000 at the Adelaide Oval witnessed one team pressing forward and the other fighting to keep the game from slipping away.
 
At stumps, Australia was 290 for 5 and had an overall lead of 363, setting itself up perfectly to declare overnight, leaving India 98 overs to either survive for a draw, or, if it finds itself set up well enough, chase the target at a rate of a little over 3.7 runs per over.
 
There were multiple flare ups in the day, the first serious one coming when Varun Aaron, in the middle of an excellent spell of reverse swing in the afternoon, had David Warner bowled. Warner, on 66, began to walk off, in the backdrop of an exuberant send-off from the bowler, who yelled “Come on! Come on!” when the umpire asked the batsman to wait. Television replays confirmed the front-foot no-ball, and when Warner came back to the crease, he repeating Aaron's words.
 
At this stage several members of the Indian team, including Virat Kohli, the captain, had words with Warner, and both Ian Gould and Marais Erasmus, the standing umpires, were forced to step in.
 
The second flare up, a hangover of the earlier incident, happened when Steve Smith pranced down the track and padded up to a Rohit Sharma off-break. Rohit appealed, although there was no chance any umpire in the world would have entertained that plea, and Smith put his hands out as if to ask, “what?” In response, an agitated Rohit walked towards the batsman, turning the same words back. Once again, Kohli came forward to support his teammate, and for a second time, the umpires calmed things down.


 
The incidents, which came on the back of both teams trying to play the game in the right spirit, following the death of Phillip Hughes, were not especially severe, but they came as a surprise to all watching. And, while the incidents looked bad when replayed on television and gave the crowd a chance to get more involved in the action, it was hardly the highlight of the day.
 
India began on 369 for 5, with a proper chance of batting time and scoring enough runs to reduce the possibility of an outright result. But, Rohit (43) was dismissed softly, popping a simple return catch to Nathan Lyon, and Wriddhiman Saha (25) was unlucky to be given out caught at slip. India was in serious danger of folding prematurely when Mohammed Shami used the long handle to great effect, agriculturally clouting three fours and a six on his way to an invaluable 34. When the last wicket fell, India had reduced Australia’s lead to 73, but there was plenty of time left in the day. Lyon, who bowled as well as a finger spinner could in these conditions, ended with 5 for 134, but could easily have had more wickets, if things went his way.
 
Australia began its second innings with several aims, the first of which was to set up a base. Chris Rogers was the first to go, sweeping Karn Sharma without fully committing to the stroke, and popped a simple catch to midwicket.
 
Warner found an able ally in Shane Watson, and although the pair did not try and score at a rapid pace, they added 102 for the second wicket. Watson, watchful in his 86-ball 33, was castled by Shami, whose control over line, length and reverse swing was admirable.
 
Aaron, who first got the ball in hand as late as the 32nd over, worked up good pace, and suddenly India found a way to wrest back some control over the scoring rate. Aaron and Shami, backed up by Ishant Sharma, put together almost an entire session of strangulation, and it was only against the part-time spinners that the batsmen managed to cut loose.
 
Warner brought up his second century of the game and sixth in the year, and once again marked the milestone emotionally, the now idiosyncratic leap followed by a long look up to the heavens. Warner (102) fell soon after, failing to make contact with a switch hit off Karn.
 
Steven Smith (52 not out) and Mitchell Marsh (40) stepped on the gas, but could only do so at the fag end of the day. India’s first aim, which was to avoid an awkward session at the end of the fourth day, was achieved. When the final day begins, all four results are possible, but realists will admit that Australia has the edge.

Please click here to see the full scorecard and follow live ball-by-ball coverage of Australia v India from Adelaide.

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