Ravichandran Ashwin returned to set up Finch nicely with good turn and bounce. @ Twitter/ICC
Ravichandran Ashwin returned to set up Finch nicely with good turn and bounce. @ Twitter/ICC

India managed to get the early breakthrough with Ravichandran Ashwin getting the important wicket of Aaron Finch on the stroke of tea as Australia were 28/1, requiring another 295 runs to bag the first Test at Adelaide.

In what was a dramatic first session, Ishant Sharma could have struck first blood with the wicket of Finch after Kumar Dharamsena decided Finch was trapped leg before off Ishant. However, the southpaw chose to review it with DRS saving the day for Finch.

Not for long as Ashwin returned to set up Finch nicely with good turn and bounce. Finch tried to play that, but was dismissed after getting a slight nick to leave Rishabh Pant take an easy one behind. Finch, who’s dismissed for a pair, did not choose to review this one after discussions with his non-striker Marcus Harris, but it looks like a chance gone begging after snicko showed that there was no nick.

Earlier,  India set a 323-run target for Australia to bat on a deteriorating Day 4 pitch after Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane’s 87-run partnership provided the tourists with a good start to the day.

If Australia do manage to chase the target, they will create history with the only successful fourth innings Test run chase of more than 300 at Adelaide coming in 1902, when the hosts made 315 to beat England. The biggest on the ground in modern times was 239 in 1982, when the West Indies managed the feat.

ALSO READ: For the first time, Cheteshwar Pujara scores century and fifty in same Test

Resuming their innings at 151/3, India added 109 runs to the first session. The impending partnership was broken by some exceptional bowling from Nathan Lyon, who picked the big wicket of India’s first innings centurion Pujara, departing to a standing ovation from the Adelaide crowd for his 71. Rohit Sharma added just 1 to depart to Lyon, who was the pick of the bowlers with six wickets.

Rahane, who brought up a fine half-century off 111 balls, his 16th in Tests, was joined by Rishabh Pant, who smashed three consecutive fours and a six off Lyon in one over. However, Australia’s strike bowler had his man in his next over after Pant tried to heave this one, but ended up getting caught by Aaron Finch at deep cover point. Pant departed after a nice little cameo scoring a 16-ball 28.

India’s batting post-lunch session was questionable coming out with an aggressive intent right at the start, the lead just kissing the 300-run mark. Their intent seemed to have backfired as Australia snapped three wickets in the space of seven balls to clip the Indian innings, looking to extend their lead to around 350.

ALSO READ: Allan Border cautions against dropping Aaron Finch down the order

Lyon got Rahane, who tried to reverse sweep it, only to find Starc at backward point. He then had Mohammed Shami for a duck, but Jasprit Bumrah defended it well to deny Lyon his hat-trick.

Starc got the final wicket of Ishant Sharma, who tried to defend a short one, but ended up giving Finch an easy catch at short-leg.

For Australia, Lyon ended with exceptional figures of 6 for 122, while Starc, who was off colour, picked three wickets going for 40 runs.

Brief scores: Australia 235 & 28/1 require another 295 runs to win against India 250 & 307 (Cheteshwar Pujara 71, Ajinkya Rahane 70; Nathan Lyon 6/122, Mitchell Starc 3/40) lead Australia 235 by 323 runs