Ranchi, March 20 (IANS) Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja took two wickets in a space of four balls to keep the pressure firmly on Australia as the visitors posted 83/4 at lunch on the fifth day of the third Test here on Monday.
The visitors were trailing India by 69 runs.
It was a sedate first hour of play where overnight batsmen Matt Renshaw and skipper Steve Smith looked to dig in their bid to save the five-day affair.
But Renshaw (15 off 84 balls) finally fell to Sharma LBW before Smith (21 off 68 balls) also departed, handing Jadeja (3/22) his third wicket of the innings.
At the break, Shaun Marsh (15 batting) and Peter Handscomb (4 batting) were at the crease.
Renshaw and Smith started the day in good vein, simply trying to bat for as long as possible, taking occasional scoring opportunities but not taking any risks whatsoever.
India captain Virat Kohli began with Jadeja at one end and Umesh Yadav at the other. Smith left plenty of balls alone as the plan seemed to be getting his edge outside off-stump.
Soon Sharma replaced Yadav and found a hint of movement from around the wicket.
Renshaw’s decision to take on Sharma from the first ball of the 29th over of the innings drew the bowler’s ire, and he hurled down a pair of bouncers in the same over to push the opener back, before getting him plumb in front for the lbw decision.
At the other end, Smith failed to get his front leg far enough down the pitch or in line to see his off stump getting knocked over.
The tourists now have a mountain to climb with the raucous home crowd sensing blood and getting behind their team.
Added, the 22-yard strip is now offering decent turn and variable bounce for the pace bowlers.