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Henriques saves the day for Australia

Posted on Feb 25, 08:52PM | IBNS

Chennai, Feb 25 : A gritty fight-back by debutant Moises Henriques helped Australia avoid an innings defeat and force the match to the fifth day despite Ravichandran Ashwin's five-wicket haul that put India sniffing distance away from a win on the fourth day of the first cricket Test here Monday.

At close, Australia were 232 for nine in the second innings and took a 40 run lead. Henriques was batting on 75, his second half-century in the match, and Nathan Lyon on 8.

The 57-run stand between Henriques and Lyon helped Australia save an innings defeat after Ashwin's five for 90 left Australia reeling at 9-175. It was Ashwin's second fifer in the match after his seven-wicket haul in Australia's first innings.

Australia's 84-over second innings has included only three overs of pace bowling from Ishant Sharma as Ashwin and fellow spinners Ravindra Jadeja (2-68) and Harbhajan Singh (2-55) exploit the crumbling red-clay pitch.

Earlier, India were all out for 572, in reply to Australia's first innings score of 380. India added just 57 runs the morning before being skittled out having built a lead of 192.

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni added 18 runs to his overnight 206 before becoming James Pattinson's (5-95) fifth victim, caught behind hooking.

Dhoni's stupendous 224 is now third highest score by a wicket-keeper. Overnight batsman Bhuvneshwar Kumar also made a fighting 38.

Australia's top order of Ed Cowan (32), Shane Watson (17) and David Warner (23) failed to capitalise on their starts while Phil Hughes (0) at No.4 and Michael Clarke (31) were victims of a couple of sharp-turning deliveries.

Opener Warner batted at No.3 after a bout of gastro.

Matthew Wade (eight) was bowled attempting a slog-sweep against Harbhajan and Peter Siddle (two), Pattinson (11) and Mitchell Starc (eight) went cheaply before Australia's fightback late on Monday.