Mohali, Mar 17 (IBNS) Australia's hopes of avoiding their third consecutive defeat in the series were wiped out by India pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar's triple strikes that left the visitors trailing by 16 runs and seven wickets in hand after the fourth day's play in the third cricket Test at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium here Sunday.
Australia ended the day at 75 for three in the second innings and with skipper Michael Clarke unsure on the fifth and the final day with a back pain, they surely have a big task at hand to avoid another defeat.
Australia failed to make the most of the dramatic batting collapse by India, who were bowled out for 499 in the first innings notwithstanding a record 289-run first wicket stand Shikhar Dhawan (187) and Murali Vijay (153). Peter Siddle finished with five for 71 while Mitchell Starc got two for 74. Australia were bowled out for 408 in the first innings.
The gains of the day were lost, however, with the three wickets picked up by Bhuvneshwar in the 80 minutes Australia had to bat to see out the fourth day.
David Warner (2) was gone third ball after apparently shelving plans to play with a straight bat. It could have been worse, however, as he was almost out on the previous delivery.
Ed Cowan was then hit in front by the same bowler and gone for eight. Steve Smith failed to repeat the heroics of his first innings and was bowled all ends up by Kumar for five.
With Clarke unable to bat at three, Phil Hughes, who was given a selection reprieve in this match thanks to the dumping of four players during the week, came to the crease and was playing for his place in the side. Hughes was unbeaten on 53 and had Nathan Lyon (4) for company.
Earlier, India suffered a batting collapse losing nine wickets for 210 runs after a 289-run stand between Murali Vijay (153) and Shikhar Dhawan (187). It was the highest by an Indian pair against Australia.
An undefeated 67 to Virat Kohli helped India to 499 with a little over an hour left on the fourth day. Siddle, with his seventh five-wicket haul - was the pick of the bowlers.
Dhawan was the first to go, pushing the ball back into the hands of Cowan at silly point off Lyon.
Steve Smith got Sachin Tendulkar (37) with his first ball of the morning as lunch was called. Tendulkar soaked up two hours at the crease to score 37 when the Australian all-rounder came on to bowl just before lunch.Smith caught the inside edge of Tendulkar´s bat and the ball deflected to Cowan at short leg.
Vijay had moved to 153 after nearly seven hours at the crease, but was caught out when the ball swung back in trapping him in front. MS Dhoni (4) was hit on the pads and given out three balls later and Starc was pressing.
It was Siddle, however, who made the next breakthroughs, having Ravi Jadeja (8) and Ravi Ashwin (4) caught behind in consecutive overs.