Chennai, Feb 22 (IANS) Michael Clarke was lucky to survive in the middle and led Australia's recovery after Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin picked up all five wickets to fall by tea on the opening day of the first cricket Test here Friday.
Australia were 215 for five at tea, adding another 89 runs since lunch at the cost of Shane Watson (28), David Warner (59) and Matthew Wade (12).
India could have had the all important wicket of Clarke (45) minutes before the tea break but umpire Kumar Dharamsena failed to notice a thick edge off the Australia skipper's bat on way to the short leg fielder. Debutant Moises Henriques (29) was giving Clarke good support at the other end.
Ashwin was easily India's stand-out bowler, taking three important wickets in the second session and all of them leg before wicket. The dangerous Watson and Warner were foxed by the testing length of Ashwin, who made full use of the conditions at his home ground. The effort helped the Indian get a sixth five-wicket haul in his 13th Test.
Medim pacers Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar proved ineffective on the wicket while off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, playing his 100th Test, pitched it too short to trouble the batsmen.
Earlier, Australia lost two quick wickets in the first session before opening batsman Warner struck a fighting half-century to enable the visitors reach a healthy 126 for two at lunch.
Warner survived two chances and then grew in confidence finding a perfect ally in Watson. Warner was first dropped on 18 by Virender Sehwag at first slip off Ashwin and then escaped a stumping when on 27 again to the local boy.