Kohli century proves in vain as Siddle strikes

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Australia captain Michael Clarke decided against enforcing the follow-on after his side, inspired by Peter Siddle, made light of a fine maiden century by Virat Kohli to take command of the fourth Test against India in Adelaide.

The home side took a 332-run first-innings lead after Siddle led the way with 5-49, overshadowing Kohli’s 116 in India’s 272 all out.

Australia slumped to 50-3 by the close of play but will nevertheless begin day four with victory looking all but assured.

After resuming at 61-2, with Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar at the crease, the tourists staggered towards lunch.

The rot set in as Tendulkar again failed to convert a promising start into a landmark and long-awaited 100th international hundred when he was sent packing for 25.

Siddle, with the second ball of his second over of the morning, landed a nice leg-cutter which drew Tendulkar forward and with a slightly open face, the ‘Little Master’ pushed a low catch to Ricky Ponting diving forward at second slip.

Two overs later, Siddle dismissed Gambhir (34) with a bouncer which caught the shoulder of the fending opener’s bat, lobbing to gully where Mike Hussey scurried in and snared a fine, full-length diving catch.

From 87-4, the Indians slipped to 111-5 when VVS Laxman nicked Nathan Lyon behind. India staged a recovery but on the stroke of tea lost Wriddhiman Saha for 35 to be reduced to 225-6.

The tourists lost four wickets in the final session and never looked like competing with Australia’s first-innings 604-7dec.

Siddle almost snared his second Test hat-trick, first trapping shuffling R Ashwin in front for five.

The next ball Zaheer Khan swung wildly and edged to Haddin. Ishant Sharma blocked out the hat-trick ball.

Kohli had survived a big lbw shout off Ryan Harris on 91 and on 99 he flashed at a couple of testing Siddle offerings outside off stump before almost being run out.

Kohli finally brought up his century with a push for two through the covers.

Sharma provided support before Ben Hilfenhaus knocked over his off stump and Kohli was the last man, trapped lbw for a marvellous 116 off 213 balls.

David Warner and Ed Cowan put on 39 for Australia before three batsmen fell for the addition of one run. Warner sent a low return catch to Ashwin; Shaun Marsh was adjudged lbw after being struck outside off stump by Junaid Khan, and Cowan was then pinned plumb in front by Ashwin.

Clarke and Ricky Ponting, both double-centurions in the first innings, resume with Clarke having contributed nine to their stand of 10.