SYDNEY • Australia's batting woes returned on the Day 3 of the fourth Test yesterday, with the hosts slumping to 236 for six when bad light and rain brought an early end to their response to India's mammoth first-innings tally.
The tourists, who declared on 622-7 late on Friday, need only a draw to claim a first series win Down Under and Australia's hopes of salvaging anything faded with the loss of five wickets after lunch.
Marcus Harris, Marnus Labuschagne, Shaun Marsh and Travis Head were all out before captain Tim Paine followed shortly after the tea break. Peter Handscomb, unbeaten on 28, and fast bowler Pat Cummins, who had made 25, were at the crease when bad light stopped play at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
A storm lashed the venue for the final hour of scheduled play and proceedings will resume 30 minutes early at 10 am local time today.
Most of the Australian batsmen made starts, but only opener Harris was able to get past the half-century mark, his 79 the highest score by the hosts in a four-match series in which India have pillaged five centuries. The left-hander showed plenty of intent but, just when it seemed he could be heading for a maiden Test ton, he played the ball onto his own stumps off the bowling of Ravindra Jadeja.
"I was disappointed not to get a hundred but it was good to spend some time in the middle," Harris said.
"I'd been playing positively against the spinners."
India's pace attack played the leading role in victories in Adelaide and Melbourne, but it was the spinners who did most of the damage yesterday.
Jadeja (2-62) also accounted for the experienced Marsh (eight), who left his bat hanging to give Ajinkya Rahane the simplest of catches. Rahane had to work harder for the catch that dismissed Labuschagne for 38 off the bowling of Mohammed Shami.
"I feel we are the best in the world when it comes to fielding," left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav said.
"We are still learning."
AUSTRALIA V INDIA
4th Test, day 4: Singtel TV Ch123 & StarHub Ch236, 7am