BENGALURU – Australia were set a target of 188 runs for victory in the second Test and a 2-0 series lead on Tuesday after Josh Hazlewood picked up career-best figures of 6-67 to rip through India's batting on the fourth morning of the match.
Looking to build on their overnight tally of 213-4, India suffered yet another batting collapse in the face of the second new ball and were dismissed for 274 to bring up lunch.
On a pitch where balls were keeping low and spinners were able to extract sharp turn, the hosts were desperate to put enough runs on the board for a series-levelling win after losing the opening Test in Pune by 333 runs.
Australia captain Steve Smith started with spin from both ends to try and break the fifth-wicket partnership between Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane but when the new ball was available after 80 overs, he handed it to his pacemen.
Left-arm quick Mitchell Starc was erratic in his first two overs with it, but had soon made a key breakthrough by dismissing Rahane leg before for 52 with a full inswinging delivery.
The batsman was given not out but Smith successfully overturned the decision on review to end a partnership of 118 between Pujara and Rahane.
Starc rattled the stumps of Karun Nair next ball for a duck and wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha only just kept out the hat-trick ball.
The 26-year-old Hazlewood, who had taken three wickets on Monday, took up the gauntlet in the following over and struck a major blow to India's hopes by dismissing Pujara for 92, caught at gully.
Ravichandran Ashwin was also out in the same over for four to the right-arm paceman with the ball keeping low and going under his bat to disturb the stumps.
His fellow paceman Umesh Yadav became Hazlewood's sixth victim as India lost five wickets for just 20 runs in 19 deliveries.
Saha remained unbeaten on 20 and added 16 valuable runs with number 11 Ishant Sharma, whose dismissal for six at the hands of Australia's first Test hero Steve O'Keefe brought an end to the innings. –Reuters